Celebrate Spring holidays with these festive American lamb recipes!
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September 23, 2023

Lamb Tetela, Salsa Verde, Avocado




Lamb Tetela, Salsa Verde, Avocado



  • 100 grams (about 1 cup) masa, fresh
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lamb fat
  • Salt, pinch 

Empanada Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound ground American Lamb
  • 2 ounces chorizo, removed from casing
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme, fresh
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock 

Salsa Verde:

  • 4 tomatillos, washed, quartered
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime juice
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeño, halved, stem removed (seeds and veins can be used for a spicier salsa)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt, to taste 

Ayocote Negro Bean:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 epazote sprig, fresh (optional) 


  • Micro cilantro or cilantro leaves, watercress, avocado slices


For the Tetelas:  In a bowl, mix masa, fat and salt; allow to sit for 1 hour. 

For the Empanada Filling:  In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add lamb and chorizo; cook for 10 minutes, using a wooden spoon breaking apart the chunks of meat. With a slotted spoon, remove meat to a bowl while leaving some of the fat in the pan. Add onion, garlic and thyme to pan; cook for 5 minutes. Add raisins, olives, tomato paste and paprika; cook for 2 minutes. Add stock; reduce until almost dry. Add meats back into the pot; mix well. Season with salt to taste; cool completely. 

For the Salsa Verde:  In a blender, combine tomatillos, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, oil and salt using pulse. Salsa should be coarse and chunky. 

For the Ayocote Negro Bean: In a large pot, add water, beans, onion, garlic and oil; cook for 1-1/2 hours until beans are soft. Cool beans; strain the excess water and remove the epazote, if using. Add to a blender; season with salt, blending until smooth.   

To assemble:  Using a tortilla press, make 6-inch to 8-inch circles of masa (tortillas). Place 2 to 4 tablespoons of chilled Empanada Filling in the center of the masa circle; fold to create a triangle, covering the filling completely. Cook on a hot comal or non-stick pan, turning so both sides are cooked. Masa is done when the color turns slightly. 

Place about 1/4 cup Ayocote Negro Beans on plate; top with Tetela, 2 tablespoons of Salsa Verde, and garnish with cilantro, watercress and avocado.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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