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Suckling Lamb Barbacoa Taco

Try this recipe for Suckling Lamb Barbacoa Taco from the 'Mexico from the Inside Out' cookbook
Suckling Lamb Barbacoa Taco

Araceli Paz

This lamb barbacoa taco is made with homemade chile poblano corn tortillas that give it an extra kick of flavor.

Adapted from Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera.

Deliver Ingredients


For the chile poblano tortilla:

  • 2 Cups corn oil
  • 1 chile poblano
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup cilantro (coriander)
  • 1/2 Cup Corn Dough, see notes

For the chile guajillo adobo:

  • 1 Pound lamb bones
  • 2 Cups chiles guajillo
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 1 heirloom avocado leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon corn oil
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt

For the lamb barbacoa:

  • 1/2 agave leaf
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 heirloom avocado leaf
  • 1 Pound boneless milk-fed lamb leg
  • 1 Teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1 Cup chile guajillo adobo, recipe above

For the guacamole:

  • 1 Hass avocado, peeled, halved, and pitted
  • 1/2 Cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Leaves from two sprigs cilantro
  • 1/2 chile serrano, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt

For the plating:

  • 4 pea shoots
  • 20 cilantro criollo sprouts
  • 8 cilantro criollo flowers
  • 4 squash blossoms


For the chile poblano tortilla:

Place the oil in a small pot and heat to 375 degrees F. Fry the chile for 3 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Drain and remove the skin and seeds. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pan and add ½ teaspoon salt. Blanch the cilantro, drain, and transfer to an ice bath. Blend the chile, cilantro, and remaining salt and strain. Mix with the dough and adjust the salt. Divide into 4 (1-ounce/25 g) portions and shape into balls. Using a tortilla press, form into tortillas. Cook on a comal over low heat, turning 3 times, for 35 seconds on each side for a total of 1 minute and 45 seconds.

For the chile guajillo adobo:

Roast the bones on a baking sheet in a 355 degrees F oven for 1 hour. Core and seed the chiles and soak in 2 cups of hot water for 10 minutes, then drain and blend. In a large pot, sauté the garlic, onion, avocado leaf, and roasted bones in the oil over medium heat. Mix in the guajillo paste and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and cook over medium heat. Adjust the salt, strain (sieve) and cool.

For the lamb barbacoa:

Toast one side of the leaf directly over a gas burner set to medium heat. Place it in a baking dish and add the onion, garlic, avocado leaf, and lamb. Dissolve the salt in the water combine with the adobo. Pour the adobo over the lamb and over the baking dish with aluminum foil. Roast in a 475 degrees F combi oven for 40 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 195 degrees F, with 65 percent humidity, and roast for 10 hours longer. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Remove any connective tissue from the lamb and return the meat to the Chile Guajillo Adobo.

For the guacamole:

Using a blender, combine the avocado with the peas, cilantro, and chile until homogeneous. Adjust the salt. Place in a pastry bag or squeeze bottle and refrigerate.

For the plating:

Arrange 4 tortillas on plates and place the lamb on top. Place 3 large dollops of guacamole in a triangle on each tortilla. Place the shoots, sprouts, and flowers over the lamb. Finish with the squash blossoms.

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.