Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with Birria Tacos with Crumbled Cotija

Cinco de Mayo is a vibrant and festive holiday celebrated in the United States and in certain parts of Mexico. While many people associate this day with colorful parades, delicious food, and lively music, the true significance of Cinco de Mayo often gets lost in the festivities. So, let’s take a closer look at the history behind this holiday and explore the cultural significance it holds for many.

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually celebrated on September 16th. Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. At the time, Mexico was facing financial difficulties and was unable to pay its debts to European countries, including France. In response, French troops invaded Mexico with the intention of establishing a French-controlled empire.

Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, managed to defeat the French forces in a decisive battle at Puebla. This unexpected victory was a source of national pride for Mexico and served as a symbol of resistance against foreign intervention. While the French would eventually occupy Mexico for a few more years, the Battle of Puebla remains a significant moment in Mexican history.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. The holiday gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s as Mexican-American activists used it as a platform to promote Chicano rights and pride. Over the years, Cinco de Mayo has become a mainstream holiday in the U.S., with parades, festivals, and parties held in cities across the country.

One of the most iconic aspects of Cinco de Mayo celebrations is the food. Mexican cuisine is known for its bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and vibrant colors, making it a perfect choice for a festive occasion. From tacos and tamales to guacamole and margaritas, there is no shortage of delicious dishes to enjoy on Cinco de Mayo.

One standout recipe that is sure to impress your guests is Birria Tacos with Crumbled Gayo Azul Cotija. This dish combines tender shredded beef with the rich and tangy flavor of Gayo Azul Cotija cheese, creating a mouthwatering taco that is perfect for any celebration. The beef is marinated in a flavorful mixture of achiote paste, spices, and apple cider vinegar, then simmered until tender and shredded. The tacos are then filled with the shredded beef, crumbled Gayo Azul Cotija cheese, sliced red onions, chopped cilantro, and thinly sliced radishes, and served with lime wedges and extra birria sauce.

As you gather with friends and family to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, take a moment to reflect on the history and significance of this holiday. Remember the bravery and resilience of the Mexican soldiers who fought for their country’s independence, and honor their legacy by enjoying delicious food, music, and traditions.

So, this Cinco de Mayo, why not try your hand at making Birria Tacos with Crumbled Gayo Azul Cotija and celebrate in style? With its bold flavors and vibrant colors, this dish is sure to be a hit at your celebration and will help you pay homage to the rich cultural heritage of Mexico. Viva Mexico!

Birria Tacos with Crumbled Gayo Azul Cotija by George Duran 


Gayo Azul Cotija Cheese, crumbled

– 2 tablespoons of achiote paste

– 1 teaspoon each of cumin, chili powder, paprika, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

– 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

– 2 cups of beef broth

– 8 small corn tortillas

– Sliced red onions, chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, and lime wedges for serving

– 1 pound of beef (such as chuck roast), cut into small cubes 


1. In a large bowl, combine the first ten ingredients. Add cubed beef and mix thoroughly.

2. Place beef in a Dutch oven or large pot, adding apple cider vinegar and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours until beef is tender. Shred meat using two forks and season with salt if needed.

3. Heat a griddle or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Soften tortillas in the pan, drizzle with birria cooking liquid, and crisp.

4. Place shredded beef in the center of each tortilla, adding birria cooking liquid, Cotija cheese, onions, cilantro, and radishes.

5. Fold tortillas in half and serve with lime wedges and extra birria sauce.

Celebrity Chef George Duran praises Gayo Azul cheese for complementing Hispanic-inspired dishes. “Each recipe I create stands out using the different Gayo Azul varieties,” says Duran.

Gayo Azul and Celebrity Chef George Duran make a perfect team to celebrate Cinco De Mayo with five unique ideas,” says Josh Rosen, Brand Manager at FrieslandCampina. “Gayo Azul has been a constant companion in Chef Duran’s kitchens for years, and sharing his recipe creations honors the Gayo Azul Hispanic traditions,” adds Rosen.

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