Wild Turkey Birria - A Spicy Mexican Stew

I first had birria at a taqueria in Omaha. They call it “consommé” on the menu, and on a cold day, nothing beats fresh, authentic Mexican tacos and consommé to slurp up on the side. If you're local, check out Taqueria Tijuana in south Omaha.

What I love most about consommé is that it’s actually the leftover liquid from a spicy, slow braise of beef (traditionally goat or mutton) called birria. The restaurant uses that beef in its tacos and burritos, but that leftover broth is like everything good and warm in the world, inside a Styrofoam cup. Hot, tangy, spicy and so rich—it’s everything I love in a good stew. It often comes out with a layer of beef fat on top, and every time I come up for air, my husband laughs because my mouth is always covered in a thin orange layer of lip-smacking grease.

The recipe I have here is made with the legs and thighs from an old Tom turkey that a friend gave to me. These parts on a wild turkey tend to be tough, so a slow, low braise like this is one is the best treatment for it. The dark meat in this area of the bird also holds up well to all the spices, which actually isn’t “spicy” as far as the Scoville scale of pain, but spicy in that the stew is heavily seasoned and complex.

The one disadvantage in using wild game with a recipe like this is the leanness. You don’t get that bit of grease that is characteristic of traditional birria. The fat isn’t necessary, but if you want it, throw in a chunk of fatty pork or beef trimmings to render alongside the turkey.

For this Wild Turkey Birria recipe, visit: http://www.bowhunter.com/editorial/wild-turkey-birria-recipe/357376