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Chicken Birria

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

I had the stew many years ago when traveling in Mexico, I took notes on what was in the stew and have been playing with the recipes for several years until I got it to taste as it did at the small restaurant I went to - Enjoy



3 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped

3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped

3 cups low-sodium homemade chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

2 tablespoons distilled red wine vinegar

4 large garlic cloves, crushed

Salt and Pepper to taste


3lb of chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on

3 tablespoons safflower or canola oil

1 cup finely chopped red onion

2 sprigs of fresh oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground Mace

1 dried bay leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste


Chopped cilantro, for garnish

1 lime, quartered, for serving

Rice or corn tortillas for serving


In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the dried chiles and 1 cup of the broth, and bring to a boil, stirring to submerge the chiles. Remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes. In a blender, combine the chiles and the liquid, the tomatoes and their juices, vinegar and garlic, then season with salt and pepper, and purée until smooth.

Clean and pat dry the chicken, then season with salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven or large deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. Working in batches fry the chicken until skin is golden and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes per side, remove from Dutch oven the repeat until done. Remove the crispy skin from the chicken, chop up, and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, ¾ of the cup of onions, cumin, mace, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Slowly stir in the remaining 2 cups broth and the puréed sauce scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the pot.

Add the chicken back to the Dutch oven, add oregano sprigs, and bring to a boil. Simmer briskly over medium, partially covered, until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Divide up among bowls, and top with onion, crispy chicken skin, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and Tortillas.

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