Slow Roasting Lamb in Asturias

Up high on a mountain top meadow, fires are lit early in the morning and constantly topped up with firewood from Ash trees creating a slow burning pit of embers ideal for cooking whole splayed lamb for six hours or more.
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Without a shadow of doubt, the festival of roast lamb (Cordero a la Estaca) is one on the finest “al fresco” eating experiences there is.

The result is a succulent “cooked to perfection” meat with a delicious smokey flavor from the Ash wood and a wonderful added taste from the homemade chimichurri (a mix of herbs, garlic, vinegar, white wine and olive oil) which is squirted into the meat just before the end of the cooking process.

This process of slow-roasting lamb has recently attracted the attention of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin was visited Asturias to see how it was done… who knows, maybe in future novels we will see the house of Stark celebrating with a “Cordero a la Estaca”!!

Preparing and roasting lamb like this can be found throughout the region of Asturias during the summer with manytowns hosting their own festival and is open to anyone wishing to try it. There are also many restaurants that offer “Cordero a la Estaca” throughout the year but keep in mind that you will probably you will have to pre-order the dish as it involves a lot of preparation.

W.I.A. had the pleasure of meeting up with Tom and Helen Bennett, two Scots who have made a home for themselves here in Asturias and are always looking for interesting traditional customs to partake in.

We met them in the “Prau Llagüezos” (Llagüezos meadow) which is situated at on the border between the council of Quirós and Lena 1330m above sea level and is considered to be one of the largest Lamb roasting festivals in Asturias. It is also one of the best situated thanks to its wonderful views and megalithic tombs and Dolmens which are located at the entrance of the meadow, called Alto de la Cobertoria.

In this video, Tom and Helen walk you through the tradition and process of the event which has been taking place in Prau Llagüezos on the first Sunday of July annually since 1965.

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