Lamb Adobo

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on March 23, 2018

A primal experience is how eating a shank feels. That may go a ways in understanding how this dish has been my most popular for years now. This dish has also had the most impact on how I cook.Years ago while going from market to market in central Mexico I was talking to the ladies in the fondas and I had been making an Adobo for some time now, as I was talking to one Dona and asking about what made her adobo so special she asked how I would make one, after sharing the basics of my recipe she told me I was overcomplicating the sauce and the only way to make something better would be to make it a simpler way. I guess you could call it a lightbulb moment, that afternoon I learned more about my cooking than I had learned in my life and from that day on I have tried to make food that was simple yet elegant using the best ingredients and giving them a chance to shine.

What You Will Need


  • Adobo Sauce
  • 12 cloves Garlic
  • 4 cups Orange Juice
  • 6 Ancho Chiles (clean and stems removed)
  • 13 inch Stick of Canela [mexican cinnamon]
  • 2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 2 tbsp. Mexican Oregano
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 18 tsp. Ground Clove
  • 2 tbsp. Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Salt


Step 1

In a dry saucepan large enough to accommodate all the ingredients over medium high heat lightly toast the garlic until lightly browned all over.

Step 2

Add remaining ingredients and simmer until the chiles are softened. Cool slightly and puree until very smooth.

Step 3

In a large pan, heat a little oil at medium to high then add 4 lamb shanks that have been salted and peppered on all sides. Cook them on all sides until browned. Be patient as this is the most important part of making this dish.

Step 4

When they are well browned and smelling irresistible add the adobo sauce then cover and bake at 325° for about 4 hours or until fork tender.

Step 5

You can refrigerate them and slowly reheat the next day for supper or serve immediately, just clean off some of the grease with a spoon first.

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