I have a list of things I want to do. One of them is to cook every recipe in a cookbook so I’m working my way through Rick Bayless’ Everyday Mexican. I’ve eaten a lot of good stuff. This series is the record of those adventures.
Reckless is a good way to describe my approach to dinner parties. I like to invite a whole bunch of people over and then proceed to cook something I've never ever tried before or even eaten for that matter. I'm not sure why I continue to do this because the moment when everybody bites into something (and I have NO idea what it's going to taste like) strikes fear into my heart every time.
This is exactly what I did with Birria Jalisciense and let me tell you birria is no joke. It's supposed to be goat but seeing as I wasn't in the mood to run around Sacramento looking for goat meat I took Rick up on his suggestion to use a bone-in lamb shoulder. I did this despite the butcher's suggestion that it would easier to cook it without the bone.
"I need the bone for flavor." I said snottily, as you do if you are completing recipe #70! of a year-long cookbook project.
Cut to me wrestling a GIGANTIC bone out of a huge piece of lamb a short six hours later. In front of my guests of course. Have I mentioned that I sometimes get a little bit queasy when I have to deal with bones in meat? Yeah....
It was an ideal scene: me grunting and turning slightly green while yanking on a gigantic piece of bone and flinging lamb around the kitchen. Nothing says hospitality like kitchen hysteria. After about 10 minutes I had to call Arnold in as the relief pitcher.
On the upside birria is delicious and apart from the bone issue a piece of cake to make. You just throw goat/lamb in the slow-cooker with fire-roasted tomatoes, a load of ancho chile powder and some potatoes and it emerges phoenix like as a rich, earthy stew. A squeeze of lime, some cilantro for color and you are good to go. My friends ending up asking for seconds so I guess I'll just have to keep living on the edge.