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3 Chile Lamb Shank Barbacoa

This recipe may be found at El Restaurante

3 Chile Lamb Shank Barbacoa

Recipe courtesy of Sara Polczynski, Consulting Executive Chef

The Blind Burro, San Diego

Makes 1-1/2 cups Adobo

The Adobo:

¾  oz. guajillo, stemmed, seeded, toasted, soaked

¾  oz. ancho, stemmed, seeded, toasted, soaked

½  oz. cascabel, stemmed, seeded, toasted, soaked

2  T. apple cider vinegar

2  T. Mexican beer (XX lager)

2 oz. white onion

¼ oz. garlic

1  t. salt

½ t. dried Mexican oregano

1/8  t. cumin seeds

3 ea. cloves

½-in. piece Mexican cinnamon, crumbled

1/8 t. allspice

The Lamb Shanks:

4  ea. lamb shanks

2 c. diced carrot

2 c. diced onion

6 c. water (or enough to just cover the meat)

Dried avocado leaves, large handful

Drain and blend the chiles with the vinegar, beer, onion, garlic and spices until smooth in a blender, strain to remove any pieces of chiles. Season the shanks with salt and pepper and rub the adobo on the lamb shanks and let marinate overnight.

Remove excess adobo (reserve) and sear the meat to brown in a bit of oil over medium heat in a large saucepot. Remove meat.

In the excess oil, sauté the diced onion and diced carrot for 3-4 minutes, add back the lamb shanks, add water to almost cover the meat and top with dried avocado leaves.

Cover loosely and braise until tender 2 to 3 hours. Adjust salt in broth if needed.

Remove meat and chill the sauce separately, defat the surface of the sauce when chilled. Reheat the lamb in the braising liquid until tender and serve.


El Restaurante

El Restaurante magazine was founded in 1997, and is read by over 25,000 owners and managers of Mexican and Latin restaurants in the United States. The magazine is published five times per year by Maiden Name Press, LLC in Chicago, Illinois.

El Restaurante also publishes a monthly e-newsletter, eMex, and maintains the popular website

El Restaurante is edited by Kathleen Furore, a veteran journalist. She has been the editor since the magazine was founded. Kathleen can be reached at 708-267-0023 or

For advertising information, please contact publisher Ed Avis at or 708-218-7755.


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