Sunday, April 26, 2009

Birria De Chivo Recipe - Goat Stew

Homemade Birria De Chivo

I've really been craving some Birria de Chivo lately, especially after having a delicious bowl of it a few weeks ago at one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles. While reading the latest version of San Diego’s El Latino paper, I noticed an add from Talones Meat Market in Escondido. The Talones add was calling my name with the word "CHIVOS".

Talones Meat Market - My Chivo Source

The wife and I made a quick trip to Talones and we were pleased to find the goat was not frozen like most places. We ordered 4lbs and had it cut in cubes, we also ordered 1 goat head (cabeza). The wife likes using head in the stew to add a different element to the broth. We made a quick trip to Northgate Market for the essentials then it was back to the kitchen. We slapped 1/4 cup of vinegar on the goat meat and let it soak overnight. The next morning we were ready to go.

This recipe is for the guisado stew form which happens to be my favorite. Another popular method of cooking birria is called tatemada; tatemada employs the two-step form of stovetop steaming followed by oven roasting. You can also use a variety of different meats, goat is my favorite choice.


4 lbs Goat Meat
1 Goat Head (Cabeza) *Optional
5 Guajillo Chiles
5 Ancho Chiles
3 Cascabel Chiles
10 California Chiles (We typically use 12 Cascabel and no California Chiles but we had to tame it down for the family)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
5 whole Allspice
10 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 onion
Salt to taste
1/4 cup Vinegar
1 cup of water

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped cilantro
Corn Tortillas

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Remove the seeds and veins from the chiles and toast.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Put the chiles to soak in 1 cup of hot water for approximately 20 minutes, and then add the rest of the ingredients with exception of onion and bay leaves.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Seal in juices by searing the goat meat. We also seared the cabeza in a separate pan not shown.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Blend ingredients to a smooth sauce.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Place seared goat meat in a pot, and put just enough water in the pot to cover the meat.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Add onion and bay leaves.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Immediately strain chile paste into the pot.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Place the lid on the pot and let simmer on low heat until the meat is "fall off the bone" tender. Add salt as needed. Our meat took approximately four hours before it was cooked to perfection. As part of the final process the fat and bones were removed. During the time I was anxiously awaiting for the birria, the smell permeating through the air was intoxicating. I have to admit I lifted the lid and sampled a few tender morsels more than once.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

I had to keep myself busy and out of temptation so I decided to prepare the essential sides of chopped onions, cilantro, oregano, lime, and radishes. The wife was working on something more special an incredible chile de arbol based salsa with garlic and tomatillo. The salsa will be featured on a future write-up. The sides were ready to for the main course, and the tortillas were dipped in the delicious broth.

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

Birria De Chivo - Goat Stew

This particular Birria De Chivo turned out to be one of the most memorable Birrias I have had, I would not change a thing. The broth turned out to be complex with the perfect amount of spice. Birria De Res is a dish we make frequently in the house but now that we have a source for fresh goat, its all about the Birria De Chivo.

Enjoy the receta de birria de chivo.

Stay tuned.....
May will be Masa Month we will be featuring Masa Based Antojitos and also some major taco hunting I've done the past year in the streets of Tijuana.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Villa Saverios Tijuana- A Touch of Tuscany

Craving some pasta on a beautiful spring day the family and I decided on a midday trek to one of our favorite fine dining destinations in Tijuana, Villa Saverios. Just a 10 minute ride from the border and located in what is known as Tijuana’s Gastronomic District, Villa Saverios has an extensive menu combining the culinary influences from Italy, France, Spain, and the Mediterranean with the best local seafood and ingredients Baja has to offer.

Villa Saverios

As we walked past some spring flowers outside Saverios, my Daughter picked a flower which turned out to be the perfect table centerpiece, creating an intresting color scheme with the crisp white linen table cloth and cherries.

Cherries in Spring - Villa Saverios Tijuana BC Mex

Meal service is formal and vigilant, with each table receiving the care of 3-4 friendly and knowledgeable staff members. Browsing through the extensive list of cold and hot appetizers, we decided on the Antipasto Saverios, a nice blend of prosciutto ham, Spanish chorizo, pecorino, manchego cheese, marinated olives, and Sicilian caponata. Note: Do not the miss the Mesquite grilled oysters when they are available.

Antipasto - Villa Saverios Tijuana BC Mex

After enjoying the appetizers we decided to order the Spaghetti frutti de mare a delicious dish consisting of shrimp, clams, baby octopus, mussels and calamari in a tomato and saffron sauce, drizzled with local extra virgin olive oil . I have never been disappointed with the exceptional pastas at Villa Saverios and this was no exception. The spaghetti was cooked to perfection and fused perfectly with the local Baja catch. We paired the spaghetti with a nice Nebbiolo from the Valle de Guadalupe.

Spaghetti frutti  de mare - Saverios Tijuana BC Mex

Not being able to decide on one dessert we opted for something new Saverios offers “Degustación de Postres” a sampling of blackberry tart, mocha éclair, mango and cheese, crème brûlée, and chocolate aztec cake. The chocolate aztec cake is a very interesting blend of Mexican chocolate infused with chili pasilla.

Degustacion de postres - Saverios Tijuana BC Mex

Villa Saverios also has a very nice bar area with great ambiance; the walls around the bar are adorned with local art. If you’re looking to throw a private party they have a huge banquet room upstairs and private wine cellar dining available. If you would like to learn more about Villa Saverios and Bajas gastronomic movement Gourmet Magazine wrote a detailed article back in March of 2007, the article also outlines most of the restaurants I have recently covered in Ensenada.

Private Dining Room and Wine Cellar -Saverios Tijuana BC Mex

Villa Saverios
Blvd. Sanchez Taboada
Esq. Escuadron 201
22320 Zona Rio Tijuana


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stuffed Cactus In Batter - Nopales Rellenos y Rebozados

Well it’s not every weekend I get out for culinary excursions in Baja, so this week I decided to cover what goes on in my Kitchen. I was craving some Nopales and my wife decided to make some incredible Stuffed Nopales in Batter.


6 prickly pear cactus paddles, cleaned
Oaxacan string cheese (quesillo)
4 eggs (separated)
Vegetable Oil
Salt to taste


Clean and select Nopales, try to pair similar sizes preferably small.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Place thin slices of cheese on one nopal and cover with a second one, basically making a sandwich.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Secure the nopal and cheese with toothpicks

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks; gradually beat in salt and yolks.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Heat the oil in a large skillet until a few drops of water sprinkled into it bounce around. Dip the stuffed nopales in the egg batter to coat.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Fry in the hot oil until golden brown on each side.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Drain on paper towels.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Top with Salsa of choice, optional Crema and serve. The salsa we use is green tomato and chile de arbol based.

Nopales Rellenos - Stuffed Nopales in Batter

Some people add flour to the nopal but we feel with the texture of the nopal it is not required, the batter sticks to the nopal just fine. We also prefer the nopal to be dipped in the batter raw; some may want to boil the nopal. The type of cheese you use can vary.

Sometimes you don’t have to go far for a great meal, I just feel lucky to have such a great cook in the kitchen. This post is also a tribute to my chowhound buddy EatNopales who eats nopales without removing the thorns!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Giant Oysters (Oyster Huaraches), La Guerrense Ensenada Representing, The Linkery San Diego Gourmet Mexi-Dogs, and News and Notes.

I didn’t realize how difficult it is to come up with post titles that summarize multiple topics. I’m trying to take a page out of local San Diego based uberblogger Kirk Ks book. Kirks blog mmm-yoso was actually one of the main inspirations for me to start this blogging madness.

I was first intrigued by Oyster Huaraches (Giant Oysters) based on discussion by friends and fellow Chowhounders streetgourmetla and kare raisu who were led to La Guerrerense by chef Benito Molino. Upon subsequent visits to La Guerrerense the giant oysters were not available; however the nice owner Sabina did promise she would deliver soon. On my most recent visit the oysters were finally available but nothing could have prepared me for the size of these things.

Giant Oysters (Oyster Huaraches) La Guerrense Ensenada

Giant Oysters (Oyster Huaraches) La Guerrense Ensenada

Giant Oysters (Oyster Huaraches) La Guerrense Ensenada

On another note La Guerrerense has received well deserved national media coverage. Sabina informed me that National Geographic recently filmed some extensive coverage of the cart; I will post up the coverage as soon as it’s available. Sometimes La Guerrerense proudly displays their past media coverage on the cart, I was happy to see my humble blog post on display amongst the media coverage.

Giant Oysters (Oyster Huaraches) La Guerrense Ensenada representing Masa Assassin

I was also pleasantly surprised by a post I read by The Linkery Restaurant in San Diego. The post referenced my write up on the history of Mexicos bacon wrapped Hot Dog and highlighted a possible special menu item. The Linkerys take on the Mexi-Dog , 100% pastured beef, wrapped in hand made bacon smoked over California Red Oak, and in a house baked semolina bun. Of course, as soon as I read about this tantalizing creation, I had to drive straight down to The Linkery and try one out myself(Thanks Jay good stuff).

The Linkery San Diego Mexi-Dog - 100% pastured beef, wrapped in hand made bacon smoked over California Red Oak

I’m still preparing to cover the San Diego Mexican Cuisine scene and also have decided to include coverage of Mexican Regional Cuisine from my kitchen. I’m no Chef but my wife is a great cook specializing in Mexican Regional Cuisine. Stay Tuned…...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez Ensenada - Carnitas Estilo Guanajuato

My morning meals on the weekend typically consist of Birria, Pozole, or Menudo, and usually on my way to Ensenada I stop in South San Diego or Tijuana for my fix. Last weekend, having skipped an early breakfast, I rolled into Ensenada around 9:30am with my crew (wife and junior masa). As we passed the corner of 2nd and Riveroll the musky scent of carnitas cutting through the air was so inviting. The scent was coming from Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez, and we decided to stop and join the local crowd.

In Mexico no portion of the pig goes to waste, you can order anything from snout to tail and some of the prized parts move fast. As we approached the counter the wife ordered a surtido taco and I ordered a buche taco. Surtido is a mix of the different parts of the pig and Buche is pig esophagus . If you are unfamiliar with ordering carnitas in this fashion just point to the body part. If you’re unsure on what to order start with Maciza which is simply lean boneless meat.

The pork here has spent hours slowly simmering in lard inside a huge cazo transforming it into mouthwatering deep golden brown carnitas.

Carnitas in the Casco ready for tacos

After you have chosen your part, a friendly taquera will pull the pork from the cazo and proceed to carve with the expertise of a Master Butcher. The staff here is very friendly and knowledgeable.

Chopping the Carnitas


Pata - Pigs Feet
Pata - Pigsfeet

Once the taquera has placed the warm carnitas inside the tortilla it’s time to dress it. Hnos Ramirez offers an assortment of fresh salsas, onions, and cilantro to choose from.

Salsa and Chicharon

You can also take a piece of the complimentary Chicharrón (deep fried pork skin).

Chicharon for the taking

The Buche and Surtido we ordered were perfect, in fact it’s so hard for me to look at this without getting hungry. We ordered a few other varieties but they were consumed before I could snap a photo. :P

Carnitas Surtido -Mixed

Taco De Buche (Pork Jowl)

I had a chance to meet the friendly owner Alfonso Ramirez who stated he goes through about three cazos of pig a day. In 1998 Alfonso introduced the traditional cooking methods from his hometown of Salamanca Guanajuato Mexico to Ensenada.


Located at the corner of 2nd and Riveroll Hermanos Ramirez is open 7 days a week from 800am-4pm. Carnitas enthusiast will usually figure out when their favorite parts are available and order oreja(ears),trompa (snout), nana (uterus) or any variety of exotic combos. You can also order a kilo and make your own tacos. While I’m in Ensenada it’s usually all about eating the fresh local seafood, but now I have added some succulent carnitas into the rotation, it’s just too good to resist.

Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez