Lamb CookOff

Congratulations Chef Paul and the Sweet Basil team for winning the 2018 Lamb Cookoff.  Here's his recipe.

Oaxacan Lamb Barbacoa with mezcal salsa borracha and navajo fry bread 

For 8 people

For the Lamb:

1 Leg of Lamb, boneless

1 C. Adobo marinade (recipe below)

1 red onion, rough chopped

5 g allspice berries

6 ea cloves

1 ea cinnamon stick

3 g dried oregano

1 Qt. chicken stock

100 g garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

2 large banana leaves

Method: Preheat and oven to 300 degrees.  Pour the adobo over the lamb and rub over the entire surface.  Season the lamb with salt liberally.  Position the banana leaves in a X pattern and wrap the lamb in the banana leaves.  Place the wrapped lamb in a dutch oven or pan that can be covered with aluminum foil.  Pour the stock and spices over the lamb and place in the oven.  Roast for approx. 3 hours or until the lamb is tender and falling apart.  Remove from the oven allow the lamb to rest for at least 1 hour.  Shred the lamb using two forks.  Strain the roasting liquid and pour over the lamb.  Hold warm until ready to serve.



Makes 4 C., you will need it for the lamb marinade and the salsa borracha, plus it will store in the fridge for a long time

90 g guajilos chilis

70 g dried pasillas chilis

140 g dried ancho chilis

Briefly toast the chilis until they puff slightly.  Allow to cool and then remove the stems and shake out all of the seeds.  Tear the chilis into small pieces and soak in warm water for 20 minutes.  Drain the chilis from the water and discard the water.

12 ea cloves

9 g allspice

3 g cinnamon stick

8 g fennel seeds

2 g dried oregano

8 g cumin seed

Toast the spices in a dry pan until fragrant.

Place the soaked chilis and the toasted spices in a blender with the following:

45 g chipotle peppers

100 g garlic

5 g sugar

1 ½ C. Apple Cider Vinegar

3 C. chicken stock

25 g kosher salt

Blend the mixture until very smooth.  Transfer the puree to a sauce pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.  Return to the blender and puree again with 250g water and additional salt as needed.  Cool the puree and reserve for the marinade and salsa.


Salsa Borracha:

Yield=1 C.

1 C. adobo sauce

50 g Mezcal

Method: Whisk the mezcal and adobo together, adjust seasonings with salt and lime as desired.  If the flavor is too strong, you may use less mezcal in the mix.


Salsa Verde:

Yield= 5 C.

4 large tomatillos, wash, core, rough chop

90 g jalapeno, half de-seeded, rough chop

1 bunch parsley, chopped

3 bunches cilantro, chopped

8 g garlic, smash

100 g scallion greens, chopped

2 limes, zest

25 g lime juice

15 g salt

Oil as needed.

Method: Place the tomatillos in a food processor and begin to puree.  Next add the jalapeno, garlic, herb, and scallion and continue to process.  Then add the lime zest and juice and the salt, and process until the salsa is as smooth or chunky as you like it.  If it seems too thick add a slash of neutral salad oil and continue to puree.  If it seems flat or too acidic, add more salt, season to taste.


Navajo Fry Bread:

Makes 12 large fry breads

575 g AP flour, sifted

24 g Baking Powder

10 G Salt

500 G water

Method: First mix the dry ingredients together.  Next add the water and mix the dough with a spoon until it comes together, it will be a sticky dough.  Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 1 hour.  Next on a well floured surface, take a golf ball (or slightly larger) sized piece of dough and pat it down like a pizza, or you can roll it using a very well floured rolling pin. The dough should be about 1/3” thick.  Preheat a deep fat fryer to 375 degrees.  Fry the breads until they are light brown and crisp, repeat on the other side.  Remove from the fryer and season with salt.  Serve while fresh and warm.


Final Assembly:

Build “Tacos” using the fry bread as the vehicle, pile up a good bit of the barbacoa on top, sauce with the salsa borracha and verde as you like, and garnish liberally with diced Spanish onion and fresh watercress sprigs, or other “spicy” greens.  Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and spritz of fresh lime juice.