1kg boneless lamb (a mix of leg, shoulder and shank), chopped into chunks
80g table salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large banana or agave leaf
½ x quantity tortilla dough
lime wedges, to serve
½ white onion, diced
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves chopped
200g guacamole
300ml salsa borracha

Tacos de barbacoa is an ancestral dish that uses an earth oven to slow-cook a whole lamb wrapped in agave leaves. Traditionally served with a consommé, there would always be enough food to feed the whole neighbourhood. In the cities, barbacoa stalls are particularly busy on weekend mornings when Mexicans are looking for a good hangover cure! It’s pretty hard to find agave leaves outside of Mexico, so I’ve used banana leaves here instead and even though the flavour is not quite the same, you won’t be disappointed with the result.

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1.Place the meat in a bowl and rub with 3 tablespoons of the salt and the garlic.
2.Fill a large saucepan with 2 litres water and add the remaining salt.
3.Place a steamer basket on top and bring to a simmer.
4.Cut the banana or agave leaf into four 15cm squares and divide the meat among the leaves.
5.Bring together the corners of each leaf and secure with kitchen string to make a pouch.
6.Place the parcels in the steamer and cover.
7.Steam for 45 minutes, adding up to 1 litre more water if the pan starts to dry out.
8.Unwrap the parcels and place the meat on a chopping board.
9.Gently pull the lamb apart using two forks.
10.Meanwhile, make about 10 x 16cm tortillas.
11.Top each tortilla with the lamb, onion, coriander, guacamole and salsa borracha and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Recipes extracted from
Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos
RRP $55, published by Smith Street Books,
Photography ©Alicia Taylor
Food Stylist ©Deborah Kaloper
Illustrations by Evi O

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