24 Hours at Lambstock

Eating around the clock at the South’s greatest summer camp for chefs.

A hundred pounds of raw beef. Two giant gaping grouper. Cases of pickled peaches, foraged mushrooms and rare whisky. This is what chefs bring to a three-day potluck. 

Seven years ago, chef Brian Voltaggio asked sheep rancher Craig Rogers if the staff from Volt Restaurant in Frederick, Maryland, could come camp out and cook at his several hundred-acre Border Springs Farm in Patrick County. That first cookout quickly swelled to nearly 100 chefs, and Lambstock has been growing ever since, attracting celebrities like Sean Brock, Vivian Howard and Edward Lee, among others, with its underground vibe. From New York to New Orleans, hundreds of food industry insiders come annually to cook on outdoor fires, swap recipes and techniques, taste new ingredients and share bottles of bourbon while live music drifts over the rolling farmland. 

Why would chefs who work 14-hour days drive for hours to cook on their day off? “It’s about chefs having an opportunity for fellowship amongst themselves,” says Rogers. “That’s the reason we don’t open it to the public. Nobody is on display, there’s no pressure. Just appreciating where food comes from and how you go about honoring it.” 

I’ve come to see the chefs in action, and do some serious eating. 

Sunday  10:00 a.m. 

I arrive with a group from Richmond, and we camp under some trees at the edge of a pasture full of other tents about 200 yards slightly downhill from Rogers’ house, toting our gear and food in a golf cart. About a hundred yards away in a neighboring pasture a small stage is set up for the live music that will start around dinnertime, and a a sizeable drink tent is stocked with beer, wine, cider and liquor. There are also several fire pits here, and a long row of tables and folding chairs, all tightly clustered around the 20 feet by 80 feet open-air kitchen pavilion where  it’s a flurry of lunch prep. 

11:00 a.m

Kent Graham, who recently moved to Memphis but still runs the Field Dog Kitchen food truck in Atlanta, is deep-frying chicken in one of the Cowboy Cauldrons—a massive steel pot hanging over a fire. While we wait, we snack on a charcuterie platter with pork lardo and roasted foraged mushrooms. Serving dishes appear and disappear as chefs plate up roasted meats, pickles, savory sides and sourdough breads, then those who aren’t cooking devour them. “This is one giant laboratory,” Graham says. “Last year, for example, I got handed some lamb testicles. I shaved them and flash fried them, then made a Coca-Cola reduction. It was so good it ended up on my menus.” Next to him, long brown hair pulled back, is Lilly Gray Warren, former sous at Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina, who now cooks at pop up restaurants in Raleigh. Graham hands her a cold bottle of beer. She looks at it, shrugs, and pours it into her pot of grits. “Here it’s not about the perfect detail, it’s all about flavor,” she says. “You can try new things because it’s a one-off, not something you have to cook the same way every day over and over.” The beer grits are tangy and rich. I make a note to try that trick at home.

4:00 p.m

Jeff Farmer, chef at Fortunato and Lucky in Roanoke, is on the prep line, tossing roasted pigs feet with hot sauce. A trotter is something chefs love, but would never cook at work, because it “is too much to throw on a plate at the restaurant.” Next to the kitchen, Craig Reeves, a catering chef from Williamsburg, quietly sets up a small table spread with lambs-head tamales and garnishes. He stands back and smiles as a small crowd forms and the tamales disappear: “Last year I came prepared to cook but I was overwhelmed.” He’s been planning the tamales ever since. (Chefs can be part of a bigger meal or do something on their own, there are no rules, he explains.) The crowd swells to about 300 hungry people, as a crew of chefs from Virginia and North Carolina prep dinner. Vivian Howard from Chef and the Farmer arrives, trailing a crew filming her PBS show, A Chef’s Life. She sets up next to Jim Ertel of Richmond’s Salisbury Country Club, who is working with a container of Asian noodles. He slides his cheap plastic bin next to Howard’s antique wire basket of colorful Shishito peppers, nudges Howard and grins: No style here, only substance. 

7:00 p.m

As a bluegrass band onstage sounds the fiddle and banjo, rich wood smoke wafts through the kitchen pavilion from the fire pit, where a lamb hangs on a spit and ducks dangle from their long necks. Chef and forager Jitti Chaithiraphant from Boston applies a marinade with a brush made of nearby pine and shiso leaves. He is cooking with Mike Wajda, of Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky, and Kosta Kontogiannis, who is planning a new restaurant in Baltimore. The three swap foraged mushrooms, homemade vinegars, pickles and stories as they eye the meats and create side dishes. “At Proof we did a bourbon sauerkraut,” Wajda is saying. 

Alex Steinmetz of Buskey Cider in Richmond.

“Fermented it in a Pappy Van Winkle barrel for two months. We called it Pappy Van Kraut.” Laughter ensues. The sun dips low as all around us chefs meet or reunite around food, swapping stories, sharing ingredients and demonstrating techniques.  

8:30 p.m 

Dinner appears: Lamb banh mi, lamb nachos, roast duck, Thai green curry, lamb enchiladas, chicken bao and so much more. Diners spread out on the hay-bale seating, balancing plates on their knees, eating with fingers and passing bottles of wine, hard cider and brown liquor. As the food settles, Durham-based hip-hop artist Shirlette Ammons takes the stage and gets the crowd dancing. Meanwhile, in the outdoor kitchen, my husband Eric Lindquist, a former chef who is pitching in to make breakfast in the morning, hunts for breakfast sausage. He chats with Knoxville-based Michael Sullivan, who sells beef for Creekstone Farms. They discuss flavor profiles, and Sullivan offers to mix up a few pounds of lamb and sage sausage to stow away for morning. 

11:30 p.m 

The food (and bourbon) doesn’t stop coming until after midnight, when Ian Robbins of Williamsburg Winery cranks out a tub of cinnamon ice cream, and chef Jon Roberts fires up the wood oven for a variety of his signature late-night pizzas. The music plays on, with a new band every hour switching it up from bluegrass to folk to rock covers. Craig Rogers takes the stage with a few words about the value of farm-to-table eating as the crowd cheers. The night ends with people drifting back across the field to their tents to fall into deep food comas.

Monday  7:00 a.m.

As the early sun slants through the kitchen, a few late-nighters are snoozing in chairs and on hay bales around the outdoor kitchen. They stir and help pick up empty beer bottles as Eric rolls out biscuits for the still-hot pizza oven and starts the gravy. Chef Ertel’s helpers are like kids with a new toy, excitedly commandeering a cauldron to make corned-lamb hash with fried duck eggs. As I clear off the serving table, Joe and Heidi Trull appear with Coca-Cola chocolate pound cake and fried hand pies from their South Carolina restaurant, Grits & Groceries. Early risers gobble these up, then dig into the hot food as we plate it.  Team RVA’s breakfast disappears quickly, and then we pass the fire to someone else.

10:00 a.m.

Bill Hartley, formerly of the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and soon opening Postal Fish Company in Pittsboro, North Carolina, takes over the prep tables. He and business partner James Clark edge aside our breakfast pans and start readying lunch, wrapping their grouper in chicken wire for the fire pit. “This is a big party, and it’s fun to cook with other chefs,” says Hartley. “At food festivals it’s head down, serving food. Then all you want to do is pack up and take off. But here, you stay around so you can socialize. And you get ideas for things you want to try.”  Chef Arthur Mueller of Little Hen in Apex, North Carolina, starts prepping quail with a cherry-bourbon glaze as we clean our pans. After a quick lunch plate of Hartley’s grouper and citrus slaw from Chris Fultz at Richmond’s ZZQ, it’s time for us to pack our knives and go. We say our goodbyes, load one of the golf carts with our camping gear and drive to the car.  Behind us, the food just keeps coming. 

Check out the recipes below, including some web-exclusives, inspired by Lambstock!

  • Sausage Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits, Eric Lindquist, Richmond area chef
  • Lamb Nachos, Vivian Howard, Chef and The Farmer, Kinston, North Carolina
  • Lambs and Clams Pizza with Roast Lamb and Slow-Rise Pizza Dough, Jon Roberts, Blacksburg area chef
  • Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake, Heidi and Joe Trull, Grits & Groceries, Belton, South Carolina
  • Apple Fried Pies, Heidi and Joe Trull, Grits & Groceries, Belton, South Carolina
  • Caramelized Cinnamon Ice Cream, Ian Robbins, Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg
  • Roasted Chanterelles, Mike Wajda, Proof on Main, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Lamb Barbacoa Tamales, Craig Reeves, The Catering Company, Williamsburg
  • Mexican Roast Lamb with Red Chili Sauce, Craig Reeves, The Catering Company, Williamsburg

From Eric Lindquist, recipe developer and former chef, Richmond.

Sausage Gravy

1 pound pork breakfast sausage, ground
1 onion, finely diced (approximately 1 cup) 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
3 cups whole milk 
1 cup buttermilk 
¼ cup green Sriracha sauce

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, brown the sausage. Do not drain. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add pepper and flour, whisk constantly to cook the flour for three minutes. Add the liquid in thirds, stirring constantly. Simmer until thickened, and add Sriracha. Add salt to taste and serve over hot biscuits split in half (recipe below).

Serves 8

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter in freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Mix dry ingredients and blend well. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Toss to coat evenly. Add buttermilk and mix until the dough just begins to come together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface. Roll ½ thick into a rectangle. Fold sides toward the center, so that the dough is divided into thirds. Repeat three more times.

Cut into rounds or squares. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Makes one dozen biscuits

From Vivian Howard, Chef and The Farmer, Kinston, North Carolina.

Lamb Nachos

1 pound roasted lamb belly, chopped (you may substitute browned ground lamb or chopped roasted leg of lamb) 
1 large package tortilla chips 
8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated 
8 ounces Taleggio cheese, grated 
8 Roma tomatoes, diced 
4 jalapenos, diced (remove the seeds if you prefer a milder version) 
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons light brown sugar 
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
¼ cup grated fresh ginger 
¼ cup chopped garlic 
1 tablespoon mustard seeds 
1 tablespoon ground cumin 
½ tablespoon cayenne 
½ tablespoon turmeric 
4 scallions, chopped and divided 
½ cup chopped fresh mint 
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro 
10 Shishito peppers 
½ cup lemon juice kosher salt 
1 cup sour cream 
¼ cup lime juice jalapeno hot sauce (use your favorite store bought brand, such as Tabasco)

In a non-reactive mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, jalapeños, vinegar, sugar, oil, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin, cayenne, turmeric and 2 chopped scallions. Mix well and allow to sit for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.

On a raging hot grill or dry cast-iron skillet, char the peppers until they develop a blistered and blackened exterior. As soon as they come off the grill, douse them with the lemon juice and kosher salt. Set aside.

Mix together the sour cream and lime juice to make the crema. Set aside.

To assemble, mix the lamb meat with the spicy tomato mixture. On a sheet tray or other shallow, oven-proof vessel, arrange the tortilla chips in an even, single layer. Spoon the lamb and tomato mixture onto the chips evenly. Add the Shishito peppers whole or torn into bite-sized pieces.

Top the nachos with the grated cheeses and put under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly and all the other ingredients are hot. Remove from oven and top with the fresh mint, cilantro, remaining scallions and lime crema. 

Serves 6-8 as appetizer

From Jon Roberts, chef and wood-fired oven specialist, Blacksburg. Scroll down for exclusive web content, including the recipes for Roast Lamb and a Slow-Rise Pizza Dough.

Lambs and Clams Pizza

4-5 pounds roasted lamb neck, or bone-in lamb shoulder (recipe below)
½ bag (about 25) little neck clams, washed and shucked
¼ cup Fontina cheese Pecorino Romano for garnish
½ teaspoon fresh oregano for garnish
About 3 cups fresh arugula, lightly tossed in olive oil
½ shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine
½ lemon, zested and juiced
½ recipe slow-rise pizza dough (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 550 degrees (the hotter the better!). Place pizza stone on middle rack, if using. Preheat oven and stone for at least 45 minutes before cooking.

Heat ½ cup olive oil in a frying pan, then add shallots and cook until they are translucent and just start to brown. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon zest and juice. Allow the wine to reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Pull off the heat and whisk in the other half of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before using.

Lightly flour pizza peel. Gently dunk dough ball into a bowl of flour and then stretch to 10-12 inches. Ladle a small amount of sauce onto the pie (roughly 2 ounces) and spread with a brush. Evenly lay lamb around pizza and lightly spread with Fontina cheese. Top with 5-8 clams and quickly slide pizza onto the stone. Cook for about 5 minutes, until crust is crispy with some browning.

Remove pizza to a cooling rack and top with arugula, oregano, and shaved Pecorino Romano. Finish with a pinch of salt.

Makes 3 pizzas

Roast Lamb 

4-5 pounds lamb neck, or bone-in lamb shoulder
½ regular, everyday beer
½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon bacon grease strained, lard, or vegetable oil
¼ cup coarse sea salt
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons coriander seed, lightly toasted and ground
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

For the rub, mix together the salt, sugar, black pepper, coriander and red pepper flakes. Rub liberally on all sides of the lamb. Cover and let rest in refrigerator for 4-24 hours before cooking.

Heat bacon grease in a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan on medium-high. Sear meat on all sides until dark and caramelized in color. Add chopped onion and peeled garlic cloves. Pour in the beer, cover tightly and place in the oven to roast until meat pulls away from the bone, about 4-6 hours

Remove meat from the liquid and let cool enough to handle. Pull meat from the bones and shred.

Slow-Rise Pizza Dough 

With its slow rise, this dough has plenty of time to develop a slightly tangy flavor as it rests in the refrigerator. If you don’t use the full recipe, extra dough can be stored in the freezer.

5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons sea salt 
1 teaspoon instant yeast 
2 cups ice-cold water

Chill water in freezer until cold but not frozen. Add water to stand mixer, pour in yeast and whisk briefly. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add about 80% of flour to the water in stand mixer and mix from low to medium for about 3 minutes. The dough should resemble cake batter. Let rest for 3 minutes.

Turn mixer to medium and add flour in small increments until the dough begins pulling away from the sides. Don't mix longer than 5 minutes! You don’t want to heat up the dough and activate the yeast just yet, as most of the gluten and flavor development will happen as the dough ages in the refrigerator.

Place dough on a floured work surface and quickly form it into a ball (dough will be sticky and wet). Transfer dough into an airtight container or plastic zipper bag, big enough for it to double in size. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, and up to 72 hours.

Pull dough out two hours before making pizza. Shape dough into 6-ounce balls, then dunk both sides in flour and place on counter or in a sheet pan. Sprinkle a little bit more flour on top and cover balls with plastic wrap. Let rest until the dough has relaxed, roughly 2 hours.

Makes 4 12" pizzas

From Heidi and Joe Trull, Grits & Groceries, Belton, South Carolina.

Coca-Cola Chocolate Pound Cake 

2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 cups sugar 
1 cups butter or margarine 
1 cup Coca-Cola 
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
½ cup buttermilk 
2 eggs 
2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon soda 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 ½ cup miniature marshmallows 

For icing: 

½ cup butter or margarine 
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola 
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 pound powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13” baking pan. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Melt I cup butter or margarine in a heavy small saucepan. Add Coca-Cola and cocoa powder and bring just to boil. Stir into flour mixture. Blend in buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Fold in marshmallows. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean (about 35 minutes).

Meanwhile, prepare icing. Melt ½ cup butter or margarine in heavy medium saucepan. Add Coca-Cola and cocoa powder and bring just to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Spread icing over hot cake. Serve warm or cold.

Apple Fried Pies

4 cups all-purpose flour 
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
1 cup lard 
¾ - 1 cup ice water 
6 Granny Smith apples 
1 lemon, zest only 
2 tablespoons butter 
½ cup brown sugar 
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
¼ teaspoon ground cloves 
2 tablespoons cane syrup (can substitute honey, molasses or maple syrup) 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons bourbon 1 egg 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For dough:

Mix flour and salt together using pastry blender or fingers. Rub lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add water ¼ cup at a time, until dough comes together but isn’t too sticky. Shape into a large disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to two days.

For apple filling:

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice the quarters about ¼ inch thick. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add apples, brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, nutmeg, cloves and cane syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples become tender but not mushy.

Combine cornstarch, vanilla extract and bourbon, then stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir into the hot apples and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool (this filling can be made ahead of time and refrigerated).

To assemble and fry:

Mix together 2 cups granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, set aside for dusting pies after cooking.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a large circle about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into smaller circles 6 inches across. Repeat with remaining dough (rolling out scraps) to make 10 circles total.

Mix egg with one teaspoon of water, then with a pastry brush smooth egg wash around outer edge of pastry circle. Place ¼ cup of apple filling in the center, then carefully fold the dough over the filling. Make sure no filling touches the rim of the dough. Crimp edges together firmly.

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry pies, one or two at a time, leaving room for them to float freely in the oil. Cook until crisp and lightly browned, about 8-9 minutes.

Remove pies to drain on paper towels, and roll in cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Makes 10 hand pies

From Ian Robbins, Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg. The cinnamon adds spicy balance to the sweet caramel in this rich ice cream. Try it on the side of your Apple Fried Pies! 

Caramelized Cinnamon Ice Cream 

9 egg yolks 
7 ounces granulated sugar 
4 ounces glucose syrup (or 3 ounces extra sugar) 
2 tablespoons water 
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 
4 cinnamon sticks 
2 cups heavy cream 
2 cups whole milk

Combine sugar, glucose, water, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved and begins to caramelize to a medium brown. Use a dampened pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals that form on the side of the pot. 

Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla pod. Return to a low flame and cook until all of the sugar has been dissolved. Bring the mixture to a light simmer and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, in a stainless steel mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks. Temper the cream mixture by whisking it very slowly into the egg yolks. 

Return the custard mix to the sauce pot and cook over low heat until thickened.

Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer or chinois into a container and place into an ice bath or refrigerator to cool completely. (Letting it rest overnight helps flavor a develop)

Spin custard in an ice cream machine according to its instructions or hand churn.

Makes about 5 cups

From Mike Wajda, Proof on Main, Louisville, Kentucky.

Roasted Chanterelles

1 quart chanterelle mushrooms 
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped 
¼ cup chopped pickled ramps, or pickled red onion 
½ tablespoon Korean chili flakes 
3 tablespoons Stony Brook Squash oil (or other lightly-flavored oil like safflower) 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 sprigs fresh thyme 1 tablespoon salt

Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add oils to the pan, then add mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they begin to brown, then add garlic, ramps and salt. Sautee briefly without letting the garlic brown. Add the thyme and chili flakes.

Serves 4

Food for days...check out these additional web extra recipes from Chef Craig Reeves, The Catering Company, Williamsburg.

Lamb Barbacoa Tamales

2 pounds lard (can add lamb fat if desired) 
2 teaspoons baking powder, divided 
2 tablespoons salt, divided 
5 pounds fresh ground masa (unprepared) for tamales, divided 
2 to 3 cups lamb cooking liquid broth, divided Dried corn husks 
1 ½ quarts Mexican roast lamb (recipe below)

Rinse corn husks well with running water to take off any dust or fibers. Soak husks in water for an hour before using, and keep in water until needed. Just before filling, place a handful of wet husks in a colander to drain.

With the flat beater attachment in a large stand mixer, mix 1 pound of lard (and lamb fat) until fluffy, scraping sides to keep lard in the bowl’s center. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 tablespoon salt and mix.

Add 2 ½ pounds masa and continue to mix. Slowly add half the broth to the masa and mix until combined. The mixture should be about the consistency of smooth peanut butter. If not, add more broth as necessary. Test by taking a small piece (1/2 teaspoon) and dropping it into a cup of warm water. Masa that is ready will float. If it sinks, add a little more lard, beat for another minute and test again. Repeat this process until the masa floats.

Pour the masa mixture into a bigger bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Masa can be made ahead as necessary, covered and set aside.

Place the wide end of a corn husk on the palm of your hand, narrow end at the top. Starting at the middle of the husk, spread 2 tablespoons of the masa with the back of a spoon in an oval shape, using a downward motion towards the wide edge. Leave about a 2-inch border of uncovered husk on the sides.

Spoon 1½ tablespoons of roast lamb down the center of the masa. Fold both sides of husk to the center; then fold the pointed end of the husked down over the filled end. Make sure it’s a snug closure so the tamal will not open during steaming. Secure by tying a thin strip of corn husk around the tamale.

Use a steamer or a pot with a steamer rack to cook tamales. Place tamales upright, with fold against the sides of the other tamales to keep them from unfolding. Cover pot with a tightly fitting lid. Set heat on high and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 2½ to 3 hours, keeping lid on tightly. Tamales are finished when husks can be removed without sticking to the filling.

Makes 36 tamales

Mexican Roast Lamb 

3 ½ pounds of lamb leg 
2 large yellow onions 
2 red peppers 
2 yellow peppers 
½ head of garlic cloves 
3 large jalapenos 
1 cup golden raisins 
Mexican oregano, salt and, black pepper 
3 Mexican beers 1 cup of red chili sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Place in Dutch oven with rough (almost whole) chopped aromatic vegetables. Add beers and enough water to almost cover meat. Seal with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 3 hours until meat is very tender.

Remove oven and let the meat rest for about 30 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, saving the cooked vegetables, any fat and broth for the masa.

In a blender, puree the roasted vegetables with the red chili sauce. Combine puree with shredded lamb filling.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

Red Chili Sauce

1 onion, quartered 
3 tomatillos, husked and washed 
2 tomatoes, quartered 
3 garlic cloves, peeled 
4 New Mexico chilies, stemmed 
4 Ancho chilies, stemmed 
1 ½ cups water, divided

Salt to taste.

Preheat the broiler. Put the onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until vegetables start to get charred, about 7 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chili peppers, turning them over, for about 1 minute. Transfer them to a saucepan with enough water to cover chilies and boil for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Drain the chilies and discard water.

Divide the vegetables and chilies in half. Place half in a blender with ¾ cup of water and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt. Repeat with other half of mixture.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

This article originally appeared in our December 2016 issue. Additional reporting by Isabella Newman.

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