Spring is a time of unpredictable weather. Whether you welcome warmer days or hang on to the last of cool and crisp, this month’s menu is sure to give you warm, fuzzy feelings. Ol’ Buckaroo, a farm-to-table restaurant in Three Rivers, and chef Ryan Rusie give some spice to spring with this Mexican-inspired menu.

Lamb Barbacoa


5 pound bone in leg of lamb (boneless will work as well)

1 large brown onion, sliced

1 large orange, sliced

5 garlic cloves, skin removed

3 dried avocado leaves (bay leaves will work as well)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Banana leaves

Barbacoa marinade

2 tablespoons canola oil


Preheat oven to 325 F.

With a sharp knife, thoroughly inspect the leg of lamb and make sure that there are no shards of bone that might have been left from the butcher.

Score the fat of the lamb and season with the salt.

Sear all sides of lamb in a cast-iron skillet with canola oil until meat is caramelized.

Remove from heat and place on a plate.

Warm banana leaves slightly over an open flame (this will bring some of the natural oils out).

Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or cast-iron pot, layer enough banana leaf to cover the bottom and the sides.

Arrange the sliced onion, garlic and avocado or bay leaves on the banana leaf.

Blanket the sliced orange on top of the first layer.

Place the seared lamb on top of the orange.

Pour the reserved marinade over the lamb, making sure to cover all sides of the lamb.

Wrap the lamb with more banana leaf, cover with tight-fitting lid and place in preheated oven.

Roast for 3 1/2-4 hours or until the lamb easily pulls apart with a fork.

Pull apart the lamb and discard any unwanted fat.

Place pulled meat in an oven-proof dish or leave in pot it was cooked in.

Pour braising liquid over lamb and adjust seasoning as needed.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve with blue corn tortillas, salsa, pickled onion, cilantro and avocado slices.

Lamb Barbacoa Marinade


2 large dried ancho chilies (make sure they are soft and pliable)

1 chipotle en adobo, plus 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave

Juice from 1 lime

2 cups good quality beef broth

3 garlic cloves, skin removed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1 tablespoon ground pasilla pepper

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until all ingredients are well broken down. Reserve for later use.

Street Corn and Chayote Salad


8 medium ears of sweet white corn (the smaller the kernel,

the sweeter the corn)

2 cups julienned chayote squash

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons fine diced red onion

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Clean corn.

Cut corn kernels from stalks, being careful to not cut into the cob. (The easiest way to remove the corn is to put the tip of the stalk into a bundt pan. This helps hold it in place and the kernels will fall into the pan.) Set aside when finished.

Heat a nonstick pan on high heat; add oil.

When the oil begins to smoke, add the corn and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cook until the corn begins to get a golden color. (Do not overcook as you want to retain the corn’s natural sweet juice; 4-5 minutes should do it.)

When cooked, remove corn from pan and cool down

in refrigerator.

While cooling, make the dressing and refrigerate.

When corn is cooled, add other salad ingredients,

dressing and mix well.

Refrigerate until further use.

Salad will keep for three days.



1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup crema oaxaquena or any other Mexican crema

Juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon pasilla chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Couple cracks of black peppercorns


Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until further use. Dressing

will keep for one week.

Grapefruit Curd Tart With Chamomile and Fennel Pollen Cream

Recipe by Nicky French


1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup coconut flakes


3 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice

3 large organic egg yolks

6 tablespoons butter, cut in cubes


1/2 cup whip cream

3 bags chamomile tea

1 tablespoon fennel pollen

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 5 hours 45 minutes


Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch-round tart pan.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in the bowl of food processor and pulse.

Drizzle melted butter over the mixture until wet like sand.

Transfer — mix in coconut.

Press to the bottom of the tart pan.

Bake the crust until set, 8-10 minutes

(we like it toasty colored).

Let cool.

In a medium saucepan at medium heat, combine the sugar with cornstarch and add grapefruit juice.

Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbly.

Gradually whisk in half of the hot mixture into the egg yolk, to temper.

Return the egg mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add in the butter pieces.

Stir in until melted.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth out the top.

Cover with plastic wrap against the top of the tart.

Let chill at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Infuse the heavy cream with the chamomile tea bags, simmer on the stove, transfer to refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Add the fennel pollen, whip.

Serve over the chilled tart and added chopped pistachios if you like.