To make an authentic Mexican birria, cover California chile pods and guajillo chile peppers with water in a saucepan and bring that to a boil. After simmering for 15 minutes, remove the mixture from the heat and blend with spices, onion and salt. Mix beef stew meat and the blended sauce in a pot with a bay leaf and simmer for three to five hours or until tender.
Alternatively, birria can be made in the oven using a variety of different meats, including lamb, pork or goat. While a cast-iron skillet is heating up on the stove, tear dried guajillo chilies into pieces and toast them in the skillet. After removing the toasted chilies, blend the chilies, garlic, peppercorns, salt and other spices until smooth. Spread the blended chile mixture over the meat and marinate for 18 hours. Place the marinated meat on a roasting rack in a roasting pan with 4 cups of water and cover with foil, and after baking for four hours at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the meat and glaze it with any remaining chile marinade.
Birria is commonly served along with onions and lime inside a warm homemade tortilla as a taco. Birria is also eaten with Mexican rice and beans.