Mexican Braised Lamb with Whipped Pumpkin

, from Issue #49. August, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Mexican Braised Lamb with Whipped Pumpkin

The rich smoky flavour of the ancho chilli is perfect with tender lamb and the silky pumpkin topping.

Serves: 4–6


1 kilogram diced lamb shoulder or leg
½ cup plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil
1-2 dried ancho chillies
1 cup orange juice, hot
¼ cup raisins
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
1 x 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 150˚C.

Break the chillis in half and scrape out the seeds. Chop into smaller pieces and soak in the hot orange juice for 20 minutes. Use two chillies for a spicer flavour.

Put the raisins, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, onion and the vinegar in a blender or food processor. Add the orange juice and chillis and blend to a paste. Set aside.

Season the flour and toss through the lamb, shaking off the excess. Heat a little olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole and sauté the lamb in batches until lightly golden then transfer to a bowl. Don’t let the bits on the base of the pan catch and burn.

Add the chilli mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t have your face over the pan when adding the chilli as it will make your eyes sting. Add the tomatoes, stock and lamb with any meat juices. Season and bring to the boil. Place a piece of baking paper over the meat then cover tightly with a lid. Braise for 1½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes until the lamb is very tender.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

To assemble: Place the lamb in a large ovenproof baking dish or divide between individual ramekins. Place the whipped pumpkin in a large piping bag. Pipe on top of the lamb or place spoonfuls on top and spread with a fork. Bake until the filling is hot and the pumpkin is lightly golden on top. 

Pantry note: Ancho chillies are dried poblano chillies which impart a smoky, fruity flavour to the lamb. Available from good food stores.