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Oaxacan Style Barbacoa Tacos

Oaxacan Style Barbacoa Tacos


For the Sauce

  • 25g guajillo chillies
  • 20g ancho chillies
  • 1 tbls sesame seeds
  • 2 very large garlic cloves, peeled (15g approx.)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, (5g approx.)
  • 100mls water
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tbls Apple Farm cider vinegar
  • 2 fresh springs of thyme (leaves only)
  • 1 tsp Achill Island flaky sea salt

For the Meat

  • 1.5 kg Achill Mountain Lamb shanks
  • 150 mls water
  • 60 mls mezcal
  • 3 large fresh bay leaves, washed & dried


Start by making the sauce. Remove the stems of the dried chillies and using scissors, cut them along the side to butterfly them. Remove all seeds and veins and discard them. Put the now cleaned chillies into a pot with plenty of boiling water and boil on high heat for 10 minutes or until the chllies are completely soft.

Heat a dried, medium size frying pan to medium high heat. No oil or grease of any kind on it. Add the sesame seeds to it and stirring regularly, toast the seeds until they’re golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove them into a bowl to cool down and return the pan to the heat. Add the garlic cloves and cinnamon stick and toast them for about 5 minutes, turning them regularly to avoid burning them. Once they’re done and the sesame seeds are cold, transfer the seeds and the cinnamon to the blender and blend until they are a fine powder.

Follow by adding the rest of the sauce ingredients: garlic, chillies (completely drained of their cooking liquid), water, oregano, cider vinegar, thyme and salt. Blend until you have a smooth, thickish paste.

Preheat the oven at a 170°C. Arrange the lamb shanks on a cast iron casserole with a lid (you can use a roasting tin but you will need to seal it well with tin foil before it goes into the oven). Pour the sauce from the blender over the meat, making sure it is completely covered with it. Pour the water and mezcal on the sides of the pot so you don’t wash away the sauce. Add the bay leaves and cover. Roast for 4 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Shred the meat in the pot and mix it with the juices. Serve hot on warmed corn tortillas and top with freshly chopped onion and coriander. Crown with your favourite hot sauce for extra heat.

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