Achiote Lamb Tacos Two Ways: Olive-Herb Salsa and Asiago-Brown Ale Sauce

March 26, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 3
Author Notes

I came up with this recipe in order to have something to enter for this week's Spring Lamb contest. The only thing I had ever cooked with lamb before was meatballs, so I was unsure what kind of cut or what cooking method to use. I decided to adapt the classic Yucatecan dish cochinita pibil, achiote-marinated pork roasted in banana leaves, to lamb. I fused it with Mediterranean ingredients since lamb is such an important ingredient in that region of the world. The asiago-brown ale sauce was an idea I came up with when I saw the pan full of lamb drippings, onions, and achiote sauce and just couldn't let it go to waste. —clintonhillbilly

What You'll Need
  • Achiote Lamb Tacos
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder
  • 1 packet spiced achiote paste (annato seed)
  • 2 sour oranges
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bottle brown ale, such as Newcastle
  • 2 asiago slices
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (dijon or similar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • Olive-Herb Salsa
  • 8 kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water until soft and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 dried pasilla chile
  1. Achiote Lamb Tacos
  2. Dissolve achiote paste in sour orange juice. Stir in cinnamon and crushed garlic. Marinate meat in achiote marinade overnight.
  3. Remove meat from refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature. Place meat with marinade in roasting pan or square lasagna pan and cover tightly with foil. Roast at 200 degrees for two hours. Season with 1/2 tsp salt.
  4. Remove foil, raise heat to 400 degrees. Roast meat for 20 minutes or until a visible crust forms. Place large onion wedges in pan, turn over meat and place on top of onion wedges so that the side without a crust faces up. If using a rack, place onions beneath rack instead of resting meat on onions. Roast another 20 minutes, and then remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Cut lamb into small pieces.
  5. Skim off fat from drippings. Slice onions into smaller pieces and return to pan. Pour most of a bottle of brown ale into pan, and scrape brown bits off of bottom of pan. Pour sauce and onions into a saucepan and heat over high heat until beer reduces to a thick sauce. Add two slices of asiago and stir until melted and combined. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of salt.
  6. To assemble tacos, place lamb onto warmed corn tortilllas and top with a tablespoon of asiago-brown ale sauce. Add a dollop of sour cream, squeeze a wedge of lime over taco, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
  1. Olive-Herb Salsa
  2. Place ingredients in a blender and pulse until finely chopped, chop by hand and combine.
  3. Assemble achiote lamb tacos with 1 tbsp olive-herb salsa, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Squeeze a lime wedge over tacos before eating.
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  • BrooklynBridget
  • mrslarkin
  • testkitchenette
  • clintonhillbilly

Recipe by: clintonhillbilly

public interest attorney

6 Reviews

clintonhillbilly March 26, 2010
I should also mention that my partner is vegetarian and made a version with seitan which turned out very well. She marinated the seitan in the same marinade overnight and then sauteed it till it crisped up.
clintonhillbilly March 26, 2010
Thank you for the lovely comments! I used a tart blood orange and an orange from a tree in my backyard. I'm not sure what kind of oranges they are exactly but they are fairly small and quite tart.
BrooklynBridget March 26, 2010
This sounds incredible. Bravo
mrslarkin March 26, 2010
Yum! What are sour oranges and where do you get them?
testkitchenette March 26, 2010
This sounds wonderful. I just woke up and would take this over my already planned breakfast if I could! This may grace my Passover/Easter table (we are not very kosher at this point, the sour cream will stay).
clintonhillbilly March 26, 2010
Happy Pesach!