Slow cooked lamb with chipotle, lime & honey

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Plated lamb

Turkey is a lot like house guests. The first day, you’re thrilled to see them and can’t believe it’s been so long since their last visit. Day two, you’re cordial. Day three, you offer to help them pack and call a taxi.

Don’t get me wrong – turkey at Thanksgiving is a treat, a tradition and literally the gift that keeps on giving. But that’s where the problem lies; at some point you get tired of leftovers. You’ve made turkey pie, tetrazzini, tacos and of course endless sandwiches. Eventually, you’re ready to see the back of turkey and can barely muster the energy to dump the carcass in a pot to make stock.

It’s exacerbated by the fact that many of us are going to whip up another bird in less than a month’s time. You do a frantic google search for ‘turkey leftover recipes’ and sigh deeply.

So what’s the answer? It’s time for something new. Pop the rest of the bird in the freezer and change culinary directions. At Los Chileros HQ, we fancy a slow cooked lamb shoulder with a spiky, zesty lime, honey, chipotle marinade. It’s the perfect way to wake up dulled taste buds and ideal for winter weather.

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You marinade the lamb overnight then cook it at high heat for about 20 minutes before turning the temperature right down and letting it go nice and slow until the meat falls off the bone. It’s even better if you eat it the next day when the flavors have really had a change to mingle and marry.

Eat it on its own, wrapped up in tortillas or on a bun – the choice is yours. It’s heaven with a bit of slaw and some dill pickles. It will make loads but invite some turkey-fatigued friends over or stash some in the freezer to have on hand at Christmas when you’re wishing the leftover turkey would scram. Go ahead and make it, you’ll thank me in a few week’s time.

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Slow cooked lamb shoulder with chipotle, lime & honey

If you can’t find lamb shoulder or don’t like it (heaven forbid), then you can opt for pork or beef – just go for a cut that likes it low and slow. The good news? These are usually cheaper too so you’ll get more taste and keep a bit of cash in your pocket, handy when you’ve got all those Christmas credit card bills to pay. But let’s not dwell on that thought…

Serves 8+

1 lamb shoulder, bone-in about 7lbs

2 Tbsp Los Chileros Chipotle rub & mix

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp honey

Salt

Place the lamb in a roasting pan. Mix the marinade ingredients together and rub over the lamb. Refrigerate overnight if possible. The next day, remove the pan from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400°F Generously sprinkle some sea salt on the lamb. Place the lamb in the hot oven for 20 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 225°F. Take the lamb out of the oven, cover the roasting pan with a lid or with aluminium foil – you want to make sure you’re keeping the moisture locked inside. Return to the oven and cook at the low temperature for 3-4 hours then check the lamb – it should be falling off the bone – if not cook longer.

When the lamb is done, take it out of the pan and place on a cutting board and cover with aluminium foil. Strain the cooking juices from the pan into a measuring cup or container and place it in the fridge. This will encourage the fat to rise to the top and solidify. Remove the fat and discard then return the juices to the pan. Shred the meat and put it in the pan with the juices. Give a toss to make sure all the meat is coated. Return to the oven to warm before serving with flat bread, rolls, over couscous or rice.

Gobble, gobble

My nominee for the next new Olympic sport is Thanksgiving. You got it – the whole darn tooting day. Think about it – you wake up, race to the kitchen, get a cup of joe and start cooking. Don’t sleep in, don’t pass go and definitely don’t collect $200. You are a man/woman/child/elderly person on a mission.

PLATE 1

Because face it, Thanksgiving doesn’t cook itself. While everyone else is watching a bowl game or getting in a fight, you’re cooking. And we’re not talking about meat and 2 veg, we’re talking about a spread that would make a grown man/woman/child/elderly person cry.

It takes planning, it takes energy and it takes courage. Ask me – and this is borderline blasphemy here – it’s the sides that get me excited. Don’t get me wrong, I love a slice or 10 of turkey but it’s the side dishes that get me all hot and bothered. And numero uno on my list is stuffing. It’s not hard to figure out why. We’re basically talking about bread and fat bound with eggs (actually it doesn’t sound great when I put it that way, but you know what I mean).

Plus, stuffing is a carrier for gravy and that’s got to be a good thing. This stuffing is made with cornbread (doesn’t that make it gluten free and therefore good for you???) and laced with a healthy dose of chile and sausage. You can make the cornbread the day before – even sauté the celery and onion (pop them in the fridge overnight) – then just assemble. Stuff it in the bird if you want, although I’m a stuffing out-of-the-bird kind of guy – I find you get a nicer, crispier crust.

Best of all, if you haven’t invited over your whole extended family, you’ll have leftovers. And at the end of the day while you may not get an Olympic gold medal, l.o.’s are a pretty good consolation prize.


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Chile Cornbread Stuffing

Serves around 8

I’ve included a cornbread recipe inspired by one I love from Cast Your Bread Upon the Water by Sister Schubert but use your own, if you want. You’ll want a 9” pan of cornbread. When you’re making the cornbread, add the chile to the other dry ingredients.

Cornbread

5 oz. butter, melted
1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
¾ buttermilk
2 Tbsp water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 Tbsp green chile caribe
1 Tbsp red chile pequin

Preheat oven to 400º. Brush your baking pan with some of the melted butter. Mix the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the dry and stir to mix, being careful not to overwork. Pour into the baking pan and put in the oven. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

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Stuffing

1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz sausage meat
1 pan cornbread, crumbled
5 Tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups turkey or chicken broth
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350º.

Melt the 2 Tbsp butter in a pan and sauté the celery and onion until soft but not brown. Remove and place in a large mixing bowl. Crumble up the sausage and cook in the pan until just cooked through. Add the sausage meat (drain if necessary), cornbread, butter, broth, parsley, and eggs to the bowl. Mix and place into a greased casserole dish.  Bake for approximately an hour until a skewer comes out clean.

PLATE 2

The Chile Trail Thanksgiving Survival Guide: 6 Tips for a Less-Stress Thanksgiving

You’ve tried everything.

1. You’ve brined it. You’ve deep-fried it. You’ve even tried (and failed) the infamous turkducken. So this year I want you to repeat after me, “It’s just a super-sized chicken. It’s just a super-sized chicken…”. Give it a chile spice rub, slather it in butter and wack it in the oven. Set the timer, watch the parade, and chill. Okay?

If you’re still not satisfied, try Turkey Mole on for size. We’ve adapted a recipe from Chef Douglas Rodriguez and our own John Vollerston from Las Cosas Cooking School here in Santa Fe. They have reduced the time and preparation by creating a mole-inspired dry rub you can massage into ole Tom before he hits the oven. Hint: Make a double batch of the rub-it’s addictive-then use it to season Chicken and Pork.

Mole Rub
(Makes about 11/3 cups)

¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup salt
2 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
2 tbsp corn Masa (available in the flour section of most grocery stores)
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground mild New Mexican red chile powder
1 tbsp Ancho chile powder
1 tbsp Chipotle chile powder
1 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp ground star anise
1 tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
1½ tsp toasted and ground coriander seeds
½ tsp Mexican Oregano

Mix together all the ingredients. Use at once or store in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to 3 months. For the Turkey1 (18-20-pound) turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard removed 5 ½ cups chicken stock 2 tbsp vegetable oil.
Place thawed turkey on rack set in large roasting pan; tuck wings under. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon mole rub in main cavity of turkey and ½ cup spice mixture all over and under turkey skin; tie legs together to hold shape. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. Let turkey stand 1 hour at room temperature. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 450º. Brush turkey with vegetable oil and sprinkle with an additional ¼ cup of the mole rub. Pour 1½ cups chicken stock into pan with turkey. Reduce heat to 350º; place pan in oven and roast turkey 2 hours. Add 2 cups broth to pan; roast 1 hour. Pour 2 cups broth over turkey; cover turkey loosely with foil. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175º, about 1 hour longer. Transfer turkey to platter, tent loosely with foil and kitchen towel, and let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Skim fat from the pan reserving juices. Carve and serve with mole broth that is left in the pan after skimming. Enjoy!

2. While you’re giving that bad-boy-bird a spice rub with one hand, make a bloody mary with the other. Make it easy with Los C’s mix (hide the packet and say you made it yourself. We won’t tell). If you want to get all Martha Stewart, then wet the rim of your glass and dip it in a mixture of kosher salt and chile powder. Won’t you be popular!

3. Everything at Thanksgiving tastes better with chile. That includes mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and candied yams. We’ve even tossed a pinch in the ‘ole pumpkin pie when grandma wasn’t watching. Cranberry sauce? Maybe not. But come to think of it…

Red Chile Scalloped Potatoes
Serves 6-8

3 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced very thin
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon hot New Mexico red chile powder
1/4 cup mild New Mexico red chile powder
1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper

Spread potatoes on paper towels and dry well. In a medium bowl, whisk together yolks, cream, milk, sour cream, cheese, red chiles, cumin, and salt. Butter a 4 qt. casserole dish. Place potatoes in a large bowl and pour milk/cream mixture over them. Stir to completely coat potatoes. Place potatoes in casserole dish and crack fresh ground pepper over potatoes. Cover and bake at 400º for 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking until potatoes are tender and casserole is bubbling and nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

4. You made it through the Thanksgiving meal. You’ve ingested 3,500 calories. Now you’re hanging out watching a bowl game and you realize – OH NO! – I haven’t eaten in at least 20 minutes. Don’t panic! Have a batch (or 2) of these on hand when you get those post-turkey munchies.

Sweet & Spicy Pecans
Makes 2 cups

2 cups pecan halves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp chipotle powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp rosemary, finely chopped

Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toss them gently so they’re lightly browned but make sure they don’t burn. Remove the pecans from the pan. Add the butter and melt, then stir in the remaining ingredients. When the sugar has dissolved, add the pecans back to the pan. Stir for a few minutes until the pecans are well-coated. Remove from the pan and place them on a sheet of parchment paper. Separate the nuts with a fork (no fingers – they’re very hot!) and allow to cool until the sugar mixture has hardened onto the pecans.

5. Leftovers. You knew it was going to happen. Whip up some Turkey Enchiladas and feel the turkey glow.

6. If all else fails, forget the turkey. Order a pizza and top it with some green chile. Go on. You know you want to.