Braised Leg of Lamb Tacos in Dr. Pepper Adobo Sauce with Medjool Dates


Hey everyone! We have some exciting news and we need your help. We were recently asked to participate in the 2nd Annual Lamb Pro-Am competition put together by Here’s how it goes- 14 bloggers from New England (3 from RI / 6 from MA / 3 from ME) are sent a monstrous, caveman size Leg of Lamb to create a recipe, post an article, and then YOU need to cast your vote on your favorite. Since you are visiting our website, of course we are going to ask you to be bias and vote for us. πŸ™‚

Please CLICK HERE and vote for our Lamb Tacos! We are hoping to get enough votes to represent Rhode Island in the final round when we prepare our dish at an event for over 200 people. Only one blogger will be victorious…so let’s make it the Front Row Eats team!

We thought long and hard about what direction to go with our recipe. We wanted to be imaginative, but most importantly, we wanted to have fun with it. We were torn between Mediterranean and Mexican…so what did we do? We combined them both for a fusion style taco. Problem solved! It’s something we’ve never seen done before, so we were immediately inspired. And so it became…Braised Leg of Lamb Tacos in Dr. Pepper Adobo Sauce with Medjool Dates!

We braised the Leg of Lamb in a spicy Adobo Sauce with Chipotles. To stick with our Mediterranean fusion theme, we added Medjool Dates for some sweetness. We thought it would be cool to add Dr. Pepper as well. Why? Because it’s the best Cola around…and because it has 23 different flavors which help to create a complex braising liquid. There was a long time rumor that Dr. Pepper contained Prune Juice. Whether this is true or not…doesn’t really matter. We thought it would pair nicely with the dates – and we were right!!!

For our “Med-Mex” creation, we also roasted some chickpeas as a substitute for traditional black beans or pinto beans. For our cooling element, we replaced sour cream with a Greek Yogurt Sauce. We topped everything off with a red cabbage slaw. And we even made our tortillas from scratch!

Leg of Lamb with all the other goodness


  • 1 Liter of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 medium onion cut into large pieces
  • 16oz of fresh Medjool Dates (pits removed)
  • 7oz Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Doubt these 3 ingredients were ever paired together before...

Doubt these 3 ingredients were ever paired together before…

Directions:Β  Let the fun begin

Step 1: Getting the Leg of Lamb to the Dutch Oven

  • First, you will want to rinse off the lamb and pat dry.
  • Then generously salt and pepper all sides of the lamb.
  • Add the onions to the bottom of the Dutch Oven
  • Place the Leg of Lamb on top of the onions fat side up.
  • Place the Dutch Oven on to the stove top on medium/ low heat for the time being.


Step 2: Add Medjool Dates and Chipotle Peppers to pot

  • Add the Medjool Dates all around the pot.Β  This means under, on the side, and on top of the lamb.
  • Then add the Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce over the top of the lamb.
  • **Warning** Be careful with these Chipotle Peppers because they are spicy! Depending on how wimpy you are, you may want to use 1/2 of the can (or less)


Step 3: Just what “the Dr.” ordered

  • Throw in the brown sugar, making sure to spread it evenly over the lamb.
  • Add in the Dr. Pepper. That’s 23 different flavors going into the dutch oven. Michael Strahan would love this.
  • Fill the pot to about 2/3 of the way full.Β  Make sure you do not overfill the pot otherwise it will boil over and make a big ol’ mess.


Step 4: Get that bad boy into the oven.

  • Now we are ready to transfer into the oven.
  • Set your oven to 300 degrees
  • This is where the magic happens after 6 hours of braising.
  • A few times throughout the cooking process, you will have to turn the lamb over in the pot so that it will be fat side down.


Step 5: It’s not like pulling teeth. This should be easy.

  • After about 6 hours, the lamb should be ready to be taken out of the oven.
  • To tell if the lamb is done, do the “fork test”.Β  This means that if you stick your fork into the meat. It should pull apart with no effort.
  • If the meat does not look all tender and soft like it does below, keep it in the oven for another hour.


Step 6: Get Shredded

  • Now that the lamb is tender and the flavors have married together, take the lamb out of the liquid and put into a separateΒ  bowl and set aside.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove all of the Dates and Chipotle Peppers from the liquid.
  • Using your hands, pull apart and shred the lamb. Then return all of the meat back into the pot with the liquid.
  • Put the pot back onto the stove over low heat to allow the Lamb to simmer in the liquid until you are ready to serve.


Spicing Up Some Chickpeas


  • 16oz can of Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder


Preheat separate convection oven to 375 degrees.Β  If this is not an option, you can put the chickpeas on the top rack with the lamb, but only roast for half the time. Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss well.Β  Once the chickpeas are well coated, spread onto a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.Β  Roast for 30 min. or until crispy turning halfway through.


Parting the Red Slaw


  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • splash of orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Get your Chop on

  • Finely cut the cabbage into slices
  • Chop the red onion into slices and add to the cabbage


Step 2: Mix it all up

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Using your hands, toss the slaw making sure that all the cabbage and onions are well coated with the juice.
  • Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.


Let’s get Saucy with some Yogurt


  • 16oz plain non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Pinch of salt


This is very simple to make.Β  Whisk all of the ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tacos.

Creating our Canvas…Puffy Taco Shells


  • Canola oil – for frying
  • 1 1/3 cups instant corn masa mix
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water


  • Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the masa mix, salt and water in a bowl until a dough forms.
  • Pull off pieces of dough and form them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
  • Using the food storage bag, place the ball of dough in the middle and firmly press down until a tortilla shape forms.
  • Carefully drop the tortilla into the hot oil. When the tortilla floats to the surface, use a metal spatula to repeatedly douse the top with hot oil until it puffs up.
  • Flip over the tortilla and press the spatula into the center of the tortilla to form a taco shape.
  • The whole process takes about 60 seconds.
  • Last, transfer the taco onto a plate lined with paper towels
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Now it’s time for the best part.

Assemble all of ingredients and make it look like this…


Now it’s time to eat!

You can’t even imagine how tender and flavorful the lamb was after braising for 6 hours in our Dr. Pepper Adobo Sauce. These tacos were sweet/spicy, crunchy/soft, hot/cold. Tons of contrast in every bite made these tacos truly irresistible.

Thanks to for allowing us to participate in the Lamb Pro-Am. We had a blast…and the fun is just getting started. Just vote for us and you’ll have a chance to taste this dish for yourself at an upcoming event. Just click here for more information about the Lamb Pro-Am event and to purchase your tickets now!

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One Response to Braised Leg of Lamb Tacos in Dr. Pepper Adobo Sauce with Medjool Dates

  1. So vibrant! I’m half-terrified of the Dr. Pepper braise, but then again, I’ve used coke for braising and it comes out great. (And my grandmother pours orange juice and ginger ale on ham, and it turns out awesome.) I feel like this would make a great series: braising with soda.

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