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Let's Make Chicken Birria (Birria de Pollo)
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Learn how to make homemade authentic Chicken Birria, a traditional Mexican stew made with tender chicken in a spicy, smoky dried red chile sauce. Birria de Pollo is delicious served as a stew with corn tortillas, folded in tacos, as a filling for enchiladas, and more.
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  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or bone-in, see notes)
  • 4 dried guajillo peppers (seeded)
  • 4 dried ancho chiles (seeded)
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol (seeded)
  • 1 white onion, chopped (large pieces)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (large pieces)
  • 8 garlic cloves (whole)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano (or regular)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or beef)
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Let's Watch Chicken Birria (Birria de Pollo)
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Step 1 Cut the dried chiles with a knife or scissors. Remove the seeds and stem. Then heat a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles in a single layer in a heavy sauce pan for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and puffing up.
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Step 2 Add the onions, garlic cloves, and tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
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Step 3 Add the spices to the pan (kosher salt, oregano, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves). Stir and cook for one minute. Add the broth and vinegar to the saucepan. Scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes until the chiles are soft and pliable.
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Step 4 Add everything in the pan to a blender or use an immersion blender. Blend until smooth.
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Step 5 Slow cooker: Add the chicken and chile sauce to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours for boneless or 6-8 hours for bone-in until the chicken is fork-tender and easily shreds. Shred if desired. Instant Pot: Sear the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot. Add the birria sauce and set it to high pressure for 8 minutes if boneless or 15 minutes if bone-in. Then, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes before manually releasing the rest. Dutch oven: Sear the chicken on both sides for 1-2 minutes. After searing the chicken, add the birria sauce. Bring it to a simmer on low. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes for boneless and 40-50 minutes for bone-in or until the chicken is fork tender. You can also place the Dutch oven in a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes if you prefer.
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Step 6 Top with fresh cilantro and onion. Birria is traditionally served in corn tortillas with consome (the cooking broth) on the side for dipping. Strain the sauce if you want a thinner broth or add more chicken broth.
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