Every so often I make a dish that is traditionally Mexican Party Fare, but with a few tweeks and a good price on a leg of lamb it's a fantastic dish for entertaining at home. My version of Lamb Barbacoa is a recipe that I entered for the Casting Process on America's Best Home Cook Reality TV Show. It is savory, beautiful to serve and very impressive when you add all of the accompaniments to the dish.
Traditionally this dish is cooked slowly in a pit that is lined with leaves and wood embers to slow roast the leg of lamb. I cook mine on a BBQ Grill or in the Oven, directly on a rack to capture all of the pan juices and dripping from the meat, creating the most savory, delicious broth that you have ever had.
To accompany the Lamb and Broth, I make 2 - 3 Salsas, Tortillas, Cilantro, Queso Fresco and Lime Wedges. For the Salsas I prefer a Green Tomatillo Salsa and a Roasted Garlic Chipotle Salsa, this is a nice balance between smoke, spice, citrus and sweet.
To serve, each guest will have a bowl of the broth that is loaded with chickpeas, rice and carrots, tortillas filled with slivers of slow roasted lamb, and the toppings. Finish with Salsa, a sprinkle of crumbled cheese, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime for a guaranteed party in your mouth, such a fabulous mix of flavor, texture and smokiness.
Prep: 2 Hours
Cook Time: 6 Hours
Serves: 6 – 8
7 lb. leg of lamb
1 Onion Quartered
3 Cloves of Garlic Halved
2 Cups Dried Chick Peas
1 Cup Chopped Carrots
1 Cup Chopped Celery
2 Bay Leaves
Heat Oven to 325F. In a large hotel style pan, place onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaves, chickpeas and water to a 2 -3 “ height on side of pan. Place this on the bottom rack, as close to the bottom of the oven as possible. Place another rack 2” above the pan. Place the Leg of Lamb that has been well salted directly on the rack over the pan of water, making sure that all juices from the lamb will drip directly into the pan. This can also be done on an outdoor grill with the same arrangement.
Roast slowly for 4 – 6 hours until lamb is tender and broth is thick and bubbly
Remove from heat and cover lamb to let rest for 20 minutes. During this time you can blend the broth if you choose to or just remove the large chunks of garlic and bay leaves.
*Rice of cubed potatoes can also be added to the broth mix
2 – 3 Chipotles in Adobo
5 – 6 Tomatillos
3 -4 Plum Tomatoes
2 Clove Garlic – skin on
½ yellow onion
In a heavy pan on direct heat, blacken the garlic, tomatillos and tomatoes until the skin is evenly blackened and the garlic is soft. Place the onion, chipotles, tomato, tomatillo, cilantro and roasted garlic (skin removed) in a blender, add 1 tsp. sugar and salt to taste and chop coarsely until you have a smooth salsa.
5 -6 Plum Tomatoes
1 -2 Jalapenos
½ yellow onion
2 -3 Cloves Garlic (skins on)
In a heavy pan on direct heat, roast the garlic, tomatoes and jalapenos until blackened and soft. Peel the garlic and add to blender with tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro and salt to taste. Blend until desired consistency.
Slice the lamb and plate
Heat tortillas and serve bowls of the broth with the
wedges of lime
Crumbled Feta or Queso Fresco Cheese