Ariel Fortanell, head chef at the Funky Mexican Cantina, Cleveland, shares his home town recipe from Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, México.

Ingredients:

Serves 4 people

1.5kg lamb leg
150g banana leaves (available from any good vegetable grocer)
1.5 metres butchers twine
4 litres chicken or lamb stock
1 brown onion (diced into 1cm)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
4g green chilli (chopped)
10g salt
5g white pepper
80g minced garlic
12 corn tortillas
150ml vegetable oil
1/4 iceberg lettuce
150g mozzarella cheese
1 lemon
200ml Guajillo Chilli sauce
200ml Pico de Gallo
200ml Chilli de Arbol sauce

Method:

• Pre-heat oven to 190˚c.
• Roast banana leaf on the BBQ for 10 seconds on both sides, take it off the heat and put it to the side.
• In a large casserole dish heat oil to a medium temperature and seal the lamb leg until golden in colour.
• Remove lamb leg and keep on the side, using the same casserole dish fry the diced onion until golden brown.
• Spread banana leaf on a bench and place the lamb leg in the centre, rub with salt, garlic, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, green chilli and cooked onion. Cover the lamb with the left side of banana then fold the back side on to the lamb, finally roll to cover the lamb, be careful when you roll as the leaf breaks easily.
• Completely wrap the lamb with banana leaves and secure it with the butcher string.
• Place lamb leg into a deep tray, fill half the tray with chicken/lamb stock and cover with foil and place in the oven.
• Cook for four hours at 190˚c.

To serve

• Remove lamb leg from the oven and carefully remove the strings, reserve the banana leaf for decoration when serving.
• Serve the lamb leg on a large platter with the banana leaf.
• Re-heat the tortillas on the BBQ or a sandwich press for 10 seconds. Keep them warm in a clean tea towel.

Using tongs, simply pull off small chunks of the tender lamb leg and fill your warm tortilla with shredded iceberg lettuce, grated mozzarella cheese, salsa and pico de gallo with a squeeze of lemon.

Buen Provecho!

Try Ariel’s recipe at home and then the real thing at Funky Mexican Cantina, 152 Shore Street, Cleveland, tel: 3821 4001 or visit his website.