Chambaretes de Borrego
Chef Roberto Santibañez of Rosa Mexicano—New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 6 Servings


    Guajillo Sauce:
  • 3 ounces guajillo chilies, cleaned, lightly toasted, soaked, and rinsed with cold water
  • 6 chilies de arbol, toasted
  • 4 cups pineapple, diced
  • 2 ounces whole garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 (3-inch) Mexican cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Salt

    Lamb Shanks:
  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 6 sheets parchment paper
  • 6 (½-inch thick) pineapple slices, cored
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 teaspoons ground Mexican cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 quart guajillo sauce
  • Butchers twine

  • Roasted vegetables:
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 pound turnips, trimmed, peeled and ½-inch diced
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and ½-inch diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus one teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 whole head garlic, top ½-inch trimmed


For Guajillo Sauce:
Blend guajillo, arbol, pineapple, garlic, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and orange juice with 1 cup of the water. Blend until very smooth.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the sauce, cooking at least 30 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar, and season with salt, to taste. Strain the sauce through a fine seive, reserving the solids and liquid separately.

Add the remaining cup of water to the solids and mix thoroughly. Strain through a fine seive and discard any remaining solids. Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate/ (Should make approximately 4 cups.)

Note: It’s important to remark that the guajillo chiles must be weight-cleaned. Alter amount of garlic to taste. This adobo can be used as a marinade for shanks before cooking. (Before step 2).

For Lamb Shanks:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Loosen the top parts of the flesh and ligaments of the shanks so the bone and meat is separate for ease of handling. Place 1 sheet of parchment paper on work surface. Place 1 pineapple slice on center of paper and top with 1 shank. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and orange zest over the shank. Repeat with remaining pineapple and shanks.

Pour approximately 5 ounces of the guajillo sauce over each shank, trying not to get sauce on the exposed bones. Wrap up the parchment paper around each shank to form a pouch and secure it to the bone with twine. (The bones should be left exposed.)

Steam the shanks in the oven for 2½ hours, or until very tender and the meat is falling off the bone.

For Roasted Vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place leeks, turnips, sweet potatoes and bay leaves in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of the oil; add the thyme, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to coat thoroughly.

Wrap the garlic, cut side up, in aluminum foil leaving the top exposed. and drizzle with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Place garlic in the roasting pan; place the pan in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Remove from oven.

Remove garlic from the pan and unwrap; peel and thinly slice. Toss with vegetables.

To Assemble and Serve:
Remove the parchment wrapping from lamb shanks. Arrange the shanks on a large serving platter, and spoon the guajillo sauce around the shanks. Line the platter with the roasted vegetables, and serve immediately.

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   Published: March 2006