Lamb in chile marinade, pit-barbecue style barbacoa

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
2 teaspoons Cumin seeds
10 Whole allspice
⅓ cup Dried oaxacan oregano* or 1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano or regular oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon Whole cloves or 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons Fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme
1 large Onion
10 Garlic cloves
4 ounces (dried) guajillo chiles* (about 16 large)
½ cup Cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
⅓ cup Water
6 pounds Piece lamb shoulder; (up to 7)
Freshly ground black pepper
30 larges Dried avocado leaves* (about 1/2 ounce)
2 cups Chicken broth
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes including juice, (up to 32-ounce)

In a cleaned electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle grind cumin seeds, allspice, oregano, and, if using, whole cloves and dried thyme. Coarsely chop onion and garlic.

Wearing rubber gloves, remove stems and seeds from guajillos. Rinse chiles under cold running water and shake off excess water (do not dry chiles).

Heat a griddle or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until a drop of water scatters across surface and roast chiles, 2 at a time, pressing down with tongs, 10 to 15 seconds on each side, or until more pliable and any water clinging to them is evaporated. Do not burn chiles or they will become bitter. Transfer chiles as roasted to a bowl.

Cover roasted chiles with boiling water by 1-inch and soak 20 minutes.

Drain chiles and transfer to a blender. Add ground spice mixture, ground cloves and fresh thyme, if using, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, and ⅓ cup water to chiles and puree on high speed, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to facilitate blending and scraping down sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon force puree through a medium mesh sieve into a bowl large enough to hold lamb and discard solids. Reserve 1¼ cups marinade paste in a small bowl, covered and chilled.

Pat lamb dry and season with pepper and salt. Transfer lamb to large bowl with marinade paste and rub all over with paste. Marinate lamb, covered with plastic wrap and chilled, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Bring lamb to cool room temperature, about 1 hour, before roasting.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Scatter half of avocado leaves in a flameproof roasting pan just large enough to hold lamb and arrange lamb on top. Scatter remaining leaves over lamb. Roast lamb, tightly covered with several layers of foil, in middle of oven about 4 hours, or until meat is almost falling off bone.

Transfer lamb to a cutting board and discard leaves, reserving pan juices.

When lamb is cool enough to handle, pull meat off bone, discarding excess fat and gristle, and arrange on a platter. Keep lamb warm.

Skim fat from pan juices if desired and on top of stove deglaze pan with broth over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Stir in tomatoes with juice, breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Add reserved 1 ¼ cups marinade paste and simmer, stirring frequently, 30 minutes or until reduced to about 4 cups. In a blender puree sauce in batches until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a bowl.

Drizzle lamb with some sauce and serve remaining sauce on the side.

Yield: 8 servings

Recipe by: Cooking Live Show #CL8997 Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #904 by "Angele and Jon Freeman" <jfreeman@...> on Nov 12, 1997

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