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Birria Potato Pierogi

Supple potato dumplings encased in Oaxacan cheese and served with braised beef and a guajillo chili sauce.

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Potato Type: Russet
Prep Method: BakedBoiled


AppetizerMain DishSnack

Prep Time

45 Mins

Cook Time

240 Mins


Serves 18


Supple potato dumplings encased in Oaxacan cheese and served with braised beef and a guajillo chili sauce.



For the Birria Beef/Lamb and Sauce

  • 5 each Dried Guajillo Chilies
  • 5 each Dried Pasilla Chilies
  • 1-½ tablespoon (22ml) Vegetable Oil
  • 2 pounds (1.9 kg) Beef Chuck or Lamb Shoulder
  • 2 pounds (1.9kg) Beef Shank or Lamb Shank
  • As Needed Kosher Salt
  • As Needed Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 6 each Whole Garlic Cloves
  • 10 each Whole Cloves
  • 1 each Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 teaspoon (1g) Dried Oregano
  • 1-½ teaspoons (1g) Dried Cumin Seeds
  • 1 (14 ounce can) Whole Plum Tomatoes
  • ¼ cup (60ml) White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 each Large White Onion, quartered
  • 5 each Bay Leaves

For the Pierogi

  • 1 cup (150g) All Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup (120g) Cake Flour
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) Kosher Salt
  • 2 each Large Eggs
  • ¼ cup (60ml) Water
  • 1.5 pounds (.68 kg) Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • As Needed Kosher Salt
  • As Needed Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (60g) Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cup (75g) Yellow Onions, chopped

To Finish the Dish

  • 3 cups (600g) Queso Oaxaca, shredded
  • 1 cup (175g) Queso Fresco
  • ½ cup (15g) Cilantro, picked


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 F (177 C). In a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat add the guajillo and the pasilla chilies. Toast the chilies for 1-2 minutes (rotate the chilies often so they do not burn). Remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl, then cover them with enough hot water to cover them (about 3 cups). Use a plate to keep the chilies submerged in the water. Let the chilies rehydrate for twenty minutes, remove the chilies, and reserve the liquid.
  2. While the chilies are soaking, season the beef or lamb pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Crank the heat on the Dutch oven to high and add the oil. In batches, sear the meat on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside.
  3. In a high-powered blender, add the chilies, garlic, cloves, cinnamon stick, oregano, cumin seeds, tomatoes, vinegar, and 1-1/2 cups of chili soaking liquid. Blend the mixture until smooth.
  4. Return the meat to the Dutch oven and add the quartered onion and bay leaves. Add the chili puree and 4 cups of water to the pot or enough to cover the meat. Season with a tablespoon of salt and bring the pot to a simmer.
  5. Remove the pot from the stove and cover it with a lid, place the pot in the oven and cook for 4 hours or until the meat shreds and falls off the bones. Discard the bay leaves and the onion and transfer the met to a cutting board to rest slightly before shredding.
  6. Adjust the consistency of the sauce for dipping.
  7. Shred the meat and hold warm.
  8. While the meat braises make the pierogi, combine the all-purpose flour with the cake flour in a large bowl. Add the salt and mix in the eggs as well as the water. Knead the dough until a smooth and elastic dough has formed (this should take about 10 minutes). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it stand at room temp for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make the filling by cooking the potatoes in enough water to cover them in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  9. Sauté the onions in the butter over medium high heat. Until they are lightly brown and translucent. Adjust the seasoning of the onions with the salt and pepper. Then combine the onions with the cooked potato and mash until combined. Allow this mixture to cool completely.
  10. Cut the dough in half (keep the other half wrapped in the plastic so it doesn’t dry out). Roll the dough into a 14 inch round and cut rounds using a 3 inch cutter. Place a tablespoon of filling in each round of dough and seal the pierogi by using a little water on the seam then fold into half-moons. Repeat this process until all the pierogis have been made.
  11. To cook the pierogi, heat a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. The pierogi should take about 6-8 minutes to cook. Transfer the pierogi to an oiled baking sheet when they are done cooking.
  12. To encase the pierogi in cheese, heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of Oaxaca cheese into a round on the pan, when the cheese bubbles and browns place the pierogi on the cheese circle so the rounded edge of the cheese lines up with the rounded edge of the pierogi. Flip the pierogi so the other side encounters the cheese then transfer the pierogi to a new baking sheet. Repeat so all the pierogis are encased with cheese.
  13. To plate up, shingle the cheese crusted pierogi on a serving tray or plate. And arrange some of the braised meat in-between the pierogi. Ladle some of the guajillo chili sauce into a bowl and place next to the pierogi. Garnish the Birria Pierogi with the cilantro and the queso fresco. Limes are also a welcome addition to the platter. To enjoy the pierogi, instruct your guests to dip the pierogi with some of the birria meat into the sauce and enjoy.


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