Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Achiote and Chipotle Braised Lamb Tacos with Mango Salsa

Okay, I'll admit it. The thought of eating the leg of some poor little lamb kind of freaked me out at first. Eventually I reasoned that the lamb was probably a real jerk and had it coming. Maybe he lived at a petting zoo where he was the surliest, bitiest little bastard lamb anyone had ever seen. Yeah, that's it.

     These tacos are insane, but you must commit to a two day preparation. If you don't the flavor will suffer and the lamb will pay you back with a gamy taste.

Achiote and Chipotle Braised Lamb Tacos with Mango Salsa

Serves four

2 tablespoons achiote powder
1 tablespoon orange or tangerine juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon vinegar (white or cider)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
3 pounds lamb stew meat, in 2-inch pieces
1 cup red wine
1 onion, chopped
2 chipotles, seeds removed
32 ounces cups vegetable broth
3 bay leaves

1) Mix together first 11 ingredients to form a paste. Rub into lamb and marinate for four to six hours

2) Heat 3-4 tablespoons of lard in a dutch oven and working in batches sear lamb meat. Because the marinade is like a paste, the lamb will not sear easily, so simply try to get it as brown as you can.

3) After, deglaze the butch oven with the red wine and add chopped onions then sauté.

4) In a blender, puree vegetable broth with chipotles.

5) Add the liquid to the pan, then add bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on low heat for about two hours or until lamb is fork tender.

6) Remove dutch oven for heat, then let cool and refrigerate over night.

7) Before service the next day, heat the lamb in the braising liquid. While it is warming, strain two to three cups of the braising liquid intoa  sauce pen. Simmer and reduce into a nice sauce to accompany the tacos.

8) When ready to serve, remove lamb, shred with a fork and place on tortillas with a bit of teh reduced sauce and mango salsa.

Letting the lamb sit in the braising liquid overnight is critical to get rid of any gamy flavour. It's time consuming, but so worth it!

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