James Beard nominated chef/owner Victor Albisu, from Del Campo, shares his recipe for succulent roasted lamb empanadas. The slow-roasted meat served with vibrant herb sauce is a perfectly delicious combination.

Serves: 4-6

Active Time = 2 hours

Inactive Time = 24 hours


2# Smoked Lamb Shoulder (see recipe below), cut into ½” cubes

2tbsp lamb shoulder run (see recipe below)

2 Cups smoked tomato Sauce (see recipe below)

1/2cup ricotta cheese

½ bunch green onions, grilled chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 white onion, julienned

2 tbsp butter

Salt to taste

8ea empanada dough


Heat a medium sized heavy bottomed pan over medium heat

Add 2 tbsp butter and sweat garlic and onions, reducing heat if too much browning occurs

Cook, stirring frequently until caramaelized, about 30 minutes

Remove heat and allow to cool

Set broiler to high in the oven

Toss the Lamb shoulder with lamb rub and place on a baking sheet.

watching carefully, char the outer layer of the lamb under the broiler

remove from the oven and allow to cool

Once fully cooled, combine with scallions and caramelized onions

fold ingredients together until incorporated

LAy out the dough on a lightly floured surface

in the center of each piece, place 1 spoon of the empanada filling, along with 1 tsp ricotta cheese

Fold the empanada in half, crimping the edges together to seal

bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes, serve immediately

Slow Roasted Lamb shoulder

Active Time =1 hour

Inactive time = 18 hours


4# lamb shoulder (preferably bone in)

½ tsp black peppercorns

2ea serrano peppers, halved

2ea bay leaves

1 white onion, peeled and quartered

1 head of garlic, halfed

1 2” knob ginger, sliced

1 cup light brown sugar

1.5 cups kosher salt

1tbsp oregano


Combine all ingredients except for ice, and reserving .5 cup of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil

Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes

Place Ice in a large container, 16quarts or larger

Pour brine over ice and allow to cool completely

Once cool add lamb shoulder and allow to bring overnight (up to 14 hours)

Remove lamb from brine and pat dry

Generously and vigorously rub in the remaining .5 cup of kosher salt into the lamb

Allow to sit for 20 minutes

Generously rub the lamb rub (see recipe below) onto the lamb shoulder

Transfer to a roasting rack

In the bottom of the rack add ½ cup water, 1 negra modelo beer

Wrap tightly in plastic and aluminum foil

Place in lower rack of oven at 225 degrees for 6 hours

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature

Remove bones and refrigerate

Lamb Rub


2oz Light brown sugar

1tsp Salt

2tsp Black Papper

1/3 tsp Cayenne Pepper

½ tsp Red Chili Powder

1 tbspCumin

1tbsp Oregano (Dried)

1tbsp Garlic Powder

1tbsp Onion Powder

2 tsp Paprika


Combine all ingredients thoroughly, then savor the flavors!

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