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Birria De Borrego (Mexican Lamb Stew)


This dish is amazing served with warm tortillas for dipping, fresh lime for squeezing, and beer - for drinking!

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  • 1 1/3 pound Lean Lamb, cubed (600g)
  • 2 1/5 pounds Lamb Shanks, cut into pieces by your butcher (1kg)
  • 2 Ancho chillies
  • 2 Chipotle chillies
  • 3 Guajillo chillies
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 10 1/2 cups lamb stock (2.5 liters)
  • 1/2 brown onion, sliced into thick rings
  • 6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 firm tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 3 limes, massaged and halved


Servings 4
Preparation time 40mins
Cooking time 130mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 392°F.

Place lamb onto a roasting tray and brown for 20 minutes.

In the mean time bring the stock to the boil and peel / slice onion and garlic. When browned, add lamb to the stock pot, along with garlic and onion and bring back to the boil. Skim any scum that floats to the surface, then simmer rapidly for the next hour / hour and a half, or until the meat and marrow can easily be removed from the bone.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over a medium heat. When hot, add the ancho, chipotle and guajillo chillies whole, and toast for several minutes until they release their aroma. Next remove stalks and seeds, and submerge chillies in the boiled water to soften for 20 minutes. It is advisable to wear gloves when doing this, and to avoid touching your eyes, nose, genitals, etc. as this will burn! Next, reduce chillies & their water to a pulp in the bowl of a food processor, and then strain through a fine sieve, discarding solids.

When your broth is done, strain into a clean pan. Discard onion, garlic and bones (you can use a chopstick to poke out any tasty marrow) and shred meat with your fingers before adding back into the stock. Next add your chilli paste and all remaining ingredients, before seasoning well with salt and pepper and simmering for a further hour to allow flavours to develop and meld. Skim fat from the surface.

Finally, remove from heat and discard bay leaves and herb stalks. Using a slotted spoon remove and divide meat between bowls, then ladle the liquid over. Garnish with finely chopped onion and coriander, and serve with guacamole, tortillas and if you want to be a real badass - extra hot sauce. I used Mellow Habanero's Smoky Chipotle Sauce, which added great umami to the dish.

Not just a rich and delicious stew, you can also fold the soft braised meats up in your tortillas for seriously sublime tacos!

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