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Patagonia-Style Lamb

Patagonia-Style Lamb

From: Chef Reina Morris, Buenos Aires Café, Austin, TX. The following recipe details the process to cook the best Latin dish presented at the 2015 Austin Lamb Jam.

1 whole lamb (approximately 70 lb.)
chimichurri sauce (recipe follows)
1 liter of salmuera (recipe follows)
1 40-lb. whole charcoal (no briquettes)

Chimichurri Sauce:
2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
½ cup finely fresh chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. crushed pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. mild red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. salt
3 cups canola oil
1½ cups white distilled vinegar

8 cups warm water
¼ cup kosher salt

as needed, butternut squash
as needed, sweet corn
as needed, sweet potatoes

Pan de Campo (Farm-Style Bread):
8 cups all purpose flour
8 oz. soft unsalted butter
salmuera  (2 cups warm water and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt)

For lamb: Prepare the lamb the night before. Remove the tendons from the inner legs and the knees. Also separate the ribs from the spine. Flatten the carcass as much as possible.  This will prevent the lamb from curling up.  

Spread the chimichurri sauce over the outside of the lamb, turn over, and spread over the inside. Keep overnight in refrigerator. The next day, very early in the morning, take out of refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for several hours to allow the meat to relax from the cold (meat will be very tender if at room temperature before cooking).  

Prepare the coals. Light up the coals aided by pieces of wood.  Once coals are red, transfer to grilling area. Make sure that you put more coals on the edges and leave the center with less since the center part of the animal is not as meaty as the edges. The fire must be slow and not very hot to cook the meat slowly and evenly.  Cook for 1½ hours skin side down.  Turn carcass over. Brush the outside skin with salmuera, brush some chimichurri on, and let cook for another 1½ hours. Add more coal if needed, keeping the temperature always on the low side.  

Once ready, take lamb out of coals, let rest about 10 minutes before slicing/cutting. Arrange on serving platter and serve with a side of chimichurri sauce.

For vegetables: While the lamb cooks, prepare the vegetables. Wash each well, dry, and wrap in foil. Place under the coal ashes to cook. Turn vegetables over every so often, during the course of the cooking.

For salmuera: Dissolve salt in warm water. Set aside to cool.

For pan de campo: Prepare the flour with a well in the center. Add the butter cut in small cubes. Work with hands until mix resembles coarse grains. Add the salmuera slowly while mixing with hands until you have a soft, moist dough. Use more or less salmuera, depending on the humidity. Let dough rest covered, in a bowl, close to the fire to keep warm.  

Stretch out the dough and make small balls to form the individual breads. Flatten by hand and place over the coals to cook. Turn over after 5 minutes. Let cook for 5 minutes more and remove from coals.  Keep warm.

For chimichurri sauce: Mix all dry ingredients. Add the vinegar. Then add the oil and mix well. Salt may be adjusted to personal liking.

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