Birria is a Mexican stew typically made with beef or goat meat. My grandmother was famous for her Thanksgiving Turkey Birria. I’ve been craving this dish for years and never felt confident to make it. Little did I know this is one of the easiest stews to put together especially when using leftovers!
Since one of the most leftover foods in the post-Thanksgiving feasts is turkey, I wanted to make my own take on birria. My grandmother uses a whole raw turkey to do her birria but I’ve found using turkey leftovers is just as great and doesn’t take as long to cook!
I had my dad walk me through the actual sauce recipe because he knows it like the back of his hand. The ingredients are simple and I am so happy to share this easy delicious stew. It’s perfect for the cold weather season and holiday leftovers!
Ingredients for Turkey Birria
- 2-3 lbs of turkey meat
- 1pk of dried Chiles California
- 1pk of dried pasia chiles
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of ground ginger
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 large white onions
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste
- appx 2 cups of chile juice from boiling dried chiles
- appx 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of orange juice freshly squeezed or simply orange juice not concentrated
- In 6 cups of water, boil chiles (appx 10 chiles) for 20 minutes. Remove chiles from water and cool in water.
- Once cool, clean chiles by removing stem and seeds. Do not dispose of the boiling water set aside for later.
- Blend the onions, tomatoes, chiles, garlic, ginger, pepper, cumin, and 1-2 cups of water used to boil chiles until runny salsa consistency.
- Pass through a mesh colander into the pot you will cook your birria in. Dispose of the leftover pulp.
- Add 1/2 cup of orange juice and at least 2-4 cups of water.
- Add salt to taste
- Bring birria to a boil and then add cooked leftover diced turkey. Cook for an additional 30mins to an hour at medium-low heat
- Serve and garnish with onion, cilantro and lime juice.
- Use a large colander when passing your blended ingredients for a faster process using a spoon.
- Add a few turkey bones into the birria broth while boiling for added flavor.
How to make Birria
Cut ingredients small enough to blend. Blend your ingredients into two parts.
Blend the onions, tomatoes, chiles, garlic, ginger, pepper, cumin, and 1-2 cups of water used to boil chiles.
You want the consistency to be like a runny salsa. It’s ok to add more water if needed because the juice of tomatoes varies. Once completely liquefied put in a container and blend your second half of ingredients.
Pass the liquefied juice through a mesh colander having the juice pour into the pot you will cook your birria in. Toss the pulp once all the juice seems to have seeped through.
TIP: use a larger colander than the one pictured it will make this process go faster. Use a spoon to get all the juice through leaving behind the pulp of your ingredients.
Add your 1/2 cup of orange juice and at least 2-4 cups of water. You want the consistency of your birria to be like a soup. Add salt to taste. Let your birria come to a boil and then add your turkey. Cook for an additional 30mins to an hour at medium-low for tender flavor filled birria.
TIP: Add a few bones during cooking process from your turkey for added flavor!
Your birria should look like this. A bright colored stew.
Serve and top with onion, cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy this delicious stew made with Thanksgiving Leftovers!
What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftover dishes?
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