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Colorado Lamb Birria Tacos

A recipe for birria made with lamb

You can find this recipe at El Restaurante

Recipe by Executive Chef/Owner Alex Seidel, Fruition Restaurant and Mercantile Dining and Provision, Denver, Colorado; recipe and photo courtesy of American Lamb Board

Makes 8 servings

3 to 4 lbs. American Lamb shanks, whole

4 dried guajillo chiles, stems removed and coarsely chopped or torn

3 dried ancho chiles, stems removed and coarsely chopped or torn

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

6 whole cloves garlic, peeled

2 t. ground cumin

2 t. ground coriander

1 t. dried oregano

2 yellow onions, 1 diced and 1 finely chopped

2 c. canned diced tomatoes

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh marjoram

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 c. lamb or beef stock 

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, minced

16 fresh corn tortillas, warm

    In a food processor, combine guajillo, ancho and chipotle chiles with garlic, cumin, coriander and oregano and pulse to make a coarse paste.

     Coat bottom of a large heavy-bottom stockpot with oil and heat over medium heat. Add chile-garlic mixture and diced onions and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and marjoram; season with salt and pepper. Add lamb shanks and stock. Gently simmer until lamb is tender and pulls away from the bones of the meat. Using a strainer, remove lamb and pick meat from bones. Roughly chop lamb and return meat to liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

    To serve, ladle birria into bowls. Top with finely chopped onion and cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas.


El Restaurante

El Restaurante magazine was founded in 1997, and is read by over 25,000 owners and managers of Mexican and Latin restaurants in the United States. The magazine is published five times per year by Maiden Name Press, LLC in Chicago, Illinois.

El Restaurante also publishes a monthly e-newsletter, eMex, and maintains the popular website

El Restaurante is edited by Kathleen Furore, a veteran journalist. She has been the editor since the magazine was founded. Kathleen can be reached at 708-267-0023 or

For advertising information, please contact publisher Ed Avis at or 708-218-7755.


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