June 9, 2008
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I've had my eyes on this Rick Bayless recipe for some time, because the technique seems so completely improbable that I came to suspect it might actually work. This is a very free adaptation of the sort of outdoors tropical cooking that you really can’t do in your backyard — the sort of cooking that begins with spades and machetes and ends with lemon leaves.

But this turns out to be really easy, and good.

We begin with an tinfoil roasting pan that we're going to nestle between the coals of our Weber grill. But, instead of using it just to catch and discard grease, we fill it with three very nice carrots (diced), a biggish white onion (small diced), a few Yukon gold potatoes (large diced), , about ten cloves of garlic (peeled) and about a quart of water.

Over this bowl of soup-to-be perches a lamb shoulder roast. Salt it really well before it goes on the grill. At either side we have hot coals, and some soaked hickory chunks. The whole thing is covered and the fire is kept on the low side of moderate, and it all goes for a couple of hours. My fire was excessively moderate, and so it was like three hours. You're taking the lamb shoulder all the way to well done -- 170°F or so. From time to time, add water to the pan, and add coals to the fire.

When the lamb is done, you take it off the grill and let it rest for twenty minutes. Then you pour the soup and vegetables into a pot, rush it into the kitchen, separate out the fat (there is less than you'd think), add about 3/4T of salt, one minced chipotle, and a handful of chopped cilantro.

And so you can sit around the fire and sip cups of this really tasty, smoky soup, eat hunks of this tasty roasted lamb (I made a bowl of tomatillo-chipotle salsa which played the role normally played by barbecue sauce), and drink lots of beet.