This year, just like last, due to the pandemic, Mexico’s Independence Day (September 16) public festivals and government official re-enactments of the initial call for independence – “El Grito” – were cancelled, or broadcast last night. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and first lady Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, appeared at the front balcony of the National Palace; after observing one minute of silence in honour of the 269,912 people who have died in Mexico due to COVID19, the president proceeded to beseech the virtual audience to proclaim:
“Mexicanos, viva la Independencia; viva Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla; viva José María Morelos y Pavón; viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez; viva Ignacio Allende; viva Leona Vicario; viva Vicente Guerrero; vivan los Héroes Anónimos; viva la libertad; viva la justicia; viva la igualdad; viva la democracia; viva la honestidad; viva nuestra soberanía; viva la fraternidad universal; viva el amor al prójimo; vivan las culturas del México prehispánico. Viva México … Viva México …
“Mexicans, long live Independence; long live Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla; long live José María Morelos y Pavón; long live Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez; long live Ignacio Allende; long live Leona Vicario; long live Vicente Guerrero; long live the unsung heros; long live Liberty; long live Justice; long live Equality; long live Democracy; long live Honesty; long live Our Sovereignty; long live Universal Fraternity; long live Love for your Neighbour; long live Mexico’s pre-Hispanic Cultures. Long live México … Long live México … Long live México!”
Under normal circumstances, many people in Mexico would have gone out for these events, gathering at main plazas all around the country, where the festivities would also include light displays, music and lots of street food. A nice plate of Restaurant Style Birria Tacos, as seen at the top of this post, seems like an appropriate way to recreate the feeling of enjoying street food, but staying safe at home, while being patriotic, with Mexico’s flag colours represented in the toppings of green cilantro leaves, white chopped onions, and red spicy salsa de chile de árbol.
The word birria defines a person or thing of poor value, deplorable. A popular story claims that during colonial times, Spaniards in Mexico thought that goat meat, being tough and having a strong smell, would be a “birria” to consume, but that the locals, unlike those Spanish knockers, allegedly made the best out of it by using the pre-Hispanic technique of long hours of cooking in their underground oven (barbacoa) to tenderize the tough meat; in addition, they included familiar chiles, as well as a combination of newly introduced herbs and spices from the Old World, to mask the odour. Other stories claim that once introduced in Mexico, the goat population increased very rapidly, thriving in semi-arid regions including areas in the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas and Colima, and farmers decided to consume the meat as a measure of demographic control; the resulting dish of heavily seasoned pieces of meat, was said to “look like a birria.” At any rate, birria is nowadays enjoyed nationwide, prepared with goat or any other meat (pork, beef, lamb, even chicken, fish or a mix), still seasoned heavily with chiles and spices, and perhaps still looking “of poor value,” but with a delicious taste and comforting quality that justify its lasting popularity. The technique of cooking underground is still widely used, but many cooks – especially in urban areas – have switched to conventional ovens, or stove-top methods. In one of my early posts, I shared my recipe for Beef Birria (click here for full story and detailed instructions):
I also shared a recipe for tacos, to prepare at home using birria leftovers, but for this occasion, I have chosen the restaurant style, for a more festive touch.
Restaurant Style Birria Tacos –
Tacos de Birria estilo restaurante
Ingredientes (for approximately 16 tacos)
1 batch beef birria (see printable recipe above)
1 bunch cilantro; washed, and chopped
½ white onion; peeled and chopped
1 batch spicy red salsa de chile de árbol (see printable recipe above), or bottled
16 warm corn tortillas
Limes; washed, and sliced
Keep pot of birria simmering on the stove. Place a skillet over medium heat; transfer a portion of meat, with no broth, to brown lightly. Dip two tortillas in the pot of birria, to coat with the rich broth (photo below, left), and transfer to the skillet with the meat. Once both the meat and the tortillas are slightly crisped, shred the meat and divide amongst the tortillas (photo below, right):
Top meat with cilantro, onions, spicy salsa de chile de árbol, and finish with a sprinkle of lime juice. Serve with a bowl of birria broth from the pot:
Repeat for the rest of the birria and tortillas. The broth may be dressed with more lime juice, and used as a dipping sauce for the tacos:
Fun Fact: Birria tacos have been trending in social media since last year, and were also featured in Netflix’s The Taco Chronicles, Volume 2.
I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #509, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.