Chef Michelle Lainez Aussie Lamb Carnitas with Habanero Cabbage and Roasted Peanuts

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Making lamb carnitas is a two-step process, first you will braise the lamb & let cool. Then you will crisp it up on the flat-top to make your tacos.


For the lamb:

  • 1 leg of Aussie grassfed Lamb
  • 1 head of garlic – cut in half horizontally
  • 2 yellow onions – quartered
  • 2 gallons chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 4 smoked chipotle chilies
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns

For the cabbage slaw:

  • 1 each head of cabbage – sliced thin like angel hair
  • 1 each habanero – finely diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro- sliced thinly
  • 1 -2 limes – juice as needed
  • To taste salt

For the roasted peanuts:

  • 8 ounces raw peanuts – shelled
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • To taste sugar


For the lamb:

  • Place the lamb leg in a deep roasting pan large enough to fit the whole leg (can be netted). Add all the spices, and veggies. Add enough stock to cover the leg at least ¾ of the way up. If you need more liquid, add more stock or water.
  • Cover the top of the roasting pan with plastic wrap then with foil. The plastic wrap will melt onto the foil creating a seal for perfect braising.
  • Place in a pre-heated oven at 300 degrees. Let it cook in the oven for at least 4 hours.
  • After the 4-hour mark, pull it out of the oven – removing netting if applicable. Take a fork and check for tenderness, it should come right off. If it's still firm, then re-cover and place it back in the oven for an hour longer.
  • Let it sit in it's juice until it cools. Remove the lamb gently onto a sheet pan or cookie sheet and remove any excess fat. You can now shred it or let it cool and then cut it into cubes.
  • Note: you can strain the vegetables from the liquid and use the liquid for your next braise or use it to reheat the lamb.

For the slaw:

  • Once everything has been prepared, place the cabbage, cilantro, habanero in a medium bowl.
  • Toss together lightly and add the lemon & salt to taste. Use immediately.

For the peanuts:

  • In a small bowl, melt the salt in the warm water. Let the peanuts soak in the salted water for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the peanuts from the water and place them on a cookie sheet and let them roast in the oven at 300 degrees until they are light brown and toasted.
  • Let cool, then chop with knife or chop in a food processor till crumbly. Place in a bowl and taste – add a little sugar for sweetness or more salt.

To serve:

  • Warm up a 5” tortilla
  • Place 2-3 ounces of lamb carnitas on top
  • Place a good pinch of the cabbage on top of meat
  • Finish it with a healthy sprinkle of peanuts
  • Pinch sides of tortilla and eat!

Dietary Substitutions

For Keto:

  • Substitute sugar with monkfruit for peanuts.
  • Replace peanuts with pepitas or sesame seeds.

For Paleo:

  • Substitute sugar with honey for peanuts.
  • Replace peanuts with sesame seeds


For Whole30:

  • Omit sugar from peanuts
  • Replace peanuts with sesame seeds