Lamb Barbacoa (Barbacoa de Borrego)
Layers of fresh South-of-the-Border flavors enhance an entree of grilled lamb and vegetable soup. The soup makes itself as the lamb cooks. Rick Bayless explains how to cook the lamb by indirect heat, placing it in the center of a large pan of vegetables so that the lamb juices run down into the vegetables as they stew. The lamb is served with Pasilla Chili Salsa and warm tortillas.
- Fresh Orange Juice - 1/2 Cup
To make the salsa: In a medium non-aluminum bowl, combine the Pasilla Seasoning Paste (below), orange juice, beer, tequila, and salt. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Makes 1 cup.
Light a large quantity of charcoal briquettes in a large, covered charcoal grill and let the coals burn until they are covered with light ash. Prepare for indirect cooking by forming the coals into a circle around the perimeter of the grill. Place the cooking grill on top.
Invert a small disposable foil grill drip pan in the center of a 12-by-9-inch heavy-duty disposable foil pan. Arrange potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic around the outer edges of the foil pan. Add the garbanzos. Place epizote or cilantro over the vegetables.
Position the pan in the center of the cooking grate of a barbecue grill and pour water into the pan to about 1 inch from the top. Place the roast rack or holder so the bottom of the rack or holder rests on the top of the small foil pan; this separates the meat from the vegetables, but lets the meat juices drip into the vegetable cooking liquid. Place the lamb roast in the roast holder. Cover and cook for 2-1/2 hours for well-done (170 F), or until tender. During the cooking process, add more charcoal if necessary, and keep the liquid in the vegetable pan at its original level by adding water as necessary.
When done, remove the roast to a platter. Sprinkle with salt and tent with foil. Let rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Remove the pan with the vegetables and broth (now it’s a soup) from the grill. Skim off the fat and season to taste with salt; stir in the chopped cilantro and chipotle chili. Remove the strings from the lamb and carve into 1-inch slices.
To serve: Line a platter with flat-leaf parsley. Top with lamb slices and drizzle with pasilla chili salsa. Sprinkle with cheese. Add the olives to the platter. Ladle the vegetable soup into small, warm soup bowls. Serve the platter of lamb with the individual soup bowls and pass more pasilla chili salsa and the warm tortillas.
Bold Pasilla Seasoning Paste
Cook the garlic on an ungreased griddle or in a heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes; cool and peel. Meanwhile, toast the dried chilies on an ungreased griddle or skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds, turning regularly and pressing flat with a spatula. In a medium bowl, cover the chilies with hot water and rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure even soaking. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the soaking water. In a food processor or blender, combine the chilies, 1/3 cup of the soaking water, garlic, oregano, pepper, and cumin. Puree until smooth, scraping the bowl often and stirring frequently. If necessary, add more soaking water a tablespoon at a time to move the mixture through the blender blades. Makes 3/4 cup.