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Cook: Roast Lamb Tacos with Spicy Slaw

Some of you may not know this–well, all of you may not know this because I haven’t said anything about it, but I did something in the Two Recipes triangle-kitchen that was huge.  Like, 8-pounds-of-meat huge.  It was thrilling and terrifying and satisfying, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last week I got an email from Paul over at asking me if I would like to participate in the inaugural American Lamb Pro-Am.  The Pro-Am is a competition held by the American Lamb Board in which 10 bloggers in Boston and Cambridge develop an original recipe, make that recipe, and then blog about that recipe (I’m obviously in step 3).  Once all the links are live, they are posted on and you can vote for the best one!
I agreed to compete for a couple of reasons.  They are as follows:
1. I’ve never been in a recipe competition and the lure of feeling like an Iron Chef was too much to pass up.
2. I like lamb.  And sure, up until Tuesday I had never actually cooked it, but I like to eat it.  That counts for something, right?
3. I’ll jump on any opportunity to hang out with others in the Boston Food Blogger community, like my friend Richard who is also competing, is extremely talented, and has some serious thoughts about burgers.
So on Monday night I went to the Russel House Tavern in Harvard Square for the American Lamb Pro-Am Pick Up party, asked the hostess where I could find the lamb I was supposed to pick up, which was by far the weirdest thing I’ve ever said to a hostess, and left with the biggest piece of meat I’ve ever worked with.  Let the Pro-Am begin!
The fat in the lamb did exactly what I wanted it to do and the onions became super onions and I wanted to eat them by themselves.  I’m telling you.  Genius.
Oh, those onions.
And finally I topped the tacos with some crumbled feta cheese because I couldn’t find cojita cheese in my grocery store.  I folded them up and served with a couple of lime wedges on the side for a little extra zing.
And there you have it.  Lamb tacos.
The tacos were the perfect combination of flavors.  The lamb was nicely flavored with the spicy Mexican marinade and garlic cloves, and paired really nicely with the spicy, zingy coleslaw.
This meal was delicious and exciting for many reasons, one being that I developed a recipe that was actually pretty good.  I cooked something that was completely new to me, and the fact that it turned out not only palatable but worthy of seconds is a testament to lamb’s versatility and ease.
I’m definitely a fan of lamb and you should be too!
I’m so honored to be a part of the inaugural American Lamb Pro-Am and had such a good time participating.  If you like this recipe, please go to BostonChefs.Com on Monday and vote for Two Recipes!  But even if you don’t vote, go cook some lamb!  It’s delicious!  
But please vote.  On Monday.  Voting goes live on Monday.  

Vote now!
Here’s the recipe:
Roast Lamb Tacos with Spicy Slaw
For the Lamb:
  • 1 8 oz can of Mexican tomato sauce (I used Goya Onion Garlic and cilantro)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 chipotle peppers
  • 4 tablespoons of the adobo sauce that the chipotles are packed in
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 onion, cut into thick slices
  • 1 boneless leg of lamb
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a roasting pan with foil and place the roasting rack on top.  Lay the onion slices on the roasting rack.
  2. In a blender, combine first 7 ingredients and blend until well combined.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the lamb and remove the ties.  Pat well with a paper towel to dry.  Pour 1/2 cup of the marinade over the lamb and turn so that it is completely covered in the marinade.  Let sit, covered at room temperature, for 45 minutes.
  4. When the lamb has finished marinated, take a sharp knife and score the fat cap by cutting diagonal lines going both ways.  Then take a sharp paring knife and cut 8 holes in the lamb.  Insert garlic as far as possible into the meat.
  5. Lay the leg of lamb over the onions on the roasting rack and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, baste with more marinade, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and cook for an hour and a half more, basting with more marinade every hour or so.  After an hour and a half, increase the heat to 400 degrees and roast for 30 more minutes.  When inserted to the thickest part of the lamb, a meat thermometer should read 140 degrees for medium rare.  If rare is your thing, skip the last 30 minutes and just continue cooking at 350 degrees until the thermometer reads 130 degrees.
  6. Remove the leg of lamb from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes.  When it is done resting, slice it into thin slices against the grain.
For the Slaw:
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and veins mostly removed, minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • a couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce
  1. In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, cabbage, minced jalapenos, sour cream and salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  2. Add paprika and hot sauce and mix again.  Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.
  3. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors can meld.
To Assemble the Tacos:
  • Corn tortillas
  • Roast Lamb
  • Caramelized onions
  • Spicy Slaw
  • Crumbled feta cheese (or cojita cheese if you can find it!)
  • lime wedges
  1. In a large skillet sprayed with non-stick spray and set over medium high heat, toast the corn tortillas for 30-40 seconds on each side, just until slightly crispy and brown spots start to show.  Set aside.
  2. Take a corn tortilla and layer with a couple of slices of the caramelized onion, then the lamb, then the spicy slaw and then some crumbled feta or cojita cheese.
  3. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
Enjoy!  And vote for me! 

4 thoughts on “Cook: Roast Lamb Tacos with Spicy Slaw

  1. We roasted this big piece of lamb…delicious. Now we have LOTS of leftover lamb. And we live in the bush. So, I spent time looking around for recipe ideas for my delicious leftovers. Thank you for posting this recipe. I think our little store has cabbage and the slaw sounds perfect for leftover lamb tacos. Yum! By the way, your site is terrific! I spent way too much time reading over it. Sounds like you are having a fantastic time in your little kitchen. Greetings from Alaska. If you want to see what we've been up to in our remote Alaska kitchen, stop on by…

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