Recipe: Lamb barbacoa in adobo

Recipe: Lamb barbacoa in adobo

1h + 12h Prep | 8-10h Cook

Last updated

While it might seem like a long time, every minute of this incredible lamb shoulder’s eight hour oven stint is spent driving the spice and aromatic smokiness of the dried chillies– as well as the Mexican oregano, garlic and other spices- deep into the meat, resulting in a tender, succulent and deeply flavourful centrepiece for your next dinner party.

Cover it with a pile of fresh herbs and green chilli, and serve with a quick tomatillo and white onion salsa, alongside a mountain of flour or corn tortillas, and you’ve got an unforgettable Mexican spread that makes your house smell incredible for a whole day.

Ingredients (Serves 8-10)

  • 1 whole shoulder of lamb (with or without leg attached, depending on how many people you need to feed)
  • 8 whole dried ancho chillies
  • 8 whole dried pasilla chillies
  • 4 whole dried chipotle chillies
  • 200g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100mL white wine vinegar
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 whole cinnamon quill
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 375mL bottle of Corona, or a similar light lager
  • Fresh coriander, thinly sliced green chilli and salt flakes to serve

The day before serving, cut the stem ends off the chillies and, one at a time, tap the seeds out into a bowl. Discard the stems and seeds. Place a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and dry toast the chillies (cut them up roughly if they don’t fit the pan), until they become highly aromatic and begin to blister. Add the stock to the pan- it will boil instantly- and cover immediately, before removing from the heat. Leave the chillies to steep for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Transfer the chillies and their soaking liquid to a blender and add the vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, coriander and salt. Blend for around one minute, or until the mix forms a thin paste.

Allow the marinade to cool, then rub over lamb. Rest in fridge overnight, if time allows.

Preheat your oven to 160C (140C if fan-forced). Lay some baking paper across the bottom of a deep roasting tray, then gently place the lamb shoulder on it. Pour the beer into the bottom of the tray, add the cinnamon stick to the beer, cover the meat with another sheet of baking paper (tucking it into the sides), then seal the whole tray tightly with aluminium foil.

Roast for 8 hours (or up to 10), then remove from the oven and leave to rest for half an hour.

Transfer meat carefully to a serving tray or bowl, and cover with coriander and green chilli. Serve with warmed tortillas, a salsa of chopped tomatillos, coriander and white onion, and a few more bottles of Corona.


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