I tried a new lamb stew recipe for Easter dinner, and even though I hadn’t made it before, I made some changes to it as I went along. We were all very happy with the results, so it’s going in the permanent file!
- 6 oz. bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
- 3 lbs. boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt for the lamb, plus 1 tsp. for stew
- 1 tsp. black pepper for lamb, plus 1/2 tsp. for stew
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 2/3 cups red wine
- 1 lb. mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 4 cups beef broth or stock
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried tarragon
- 1 1/2 lbs. small yellow potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 lb. baby carrots, cut in half on the diagonal
In a 5 qt. oven-safe dutch oven, saute chopped bacon over medium heat until browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a large plate.
While bacon cooks, season lamb pieces with 1/2 Tbsp. salt and 1 tsp pepper. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup flour and toss to coat. Cook lamb in two batches in hot bacon grease over medium heat until browned then transfer to the plate with bacon.
Add diced onion to the bacon grease and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add 1 2/3 cups wine, scraping the bottom to deglaze. Add sliced mushrooms, bring to a simmer then cook uncovered 10 minutes. While mushrooms are simmering, preheat oven to 325.
Return bacon and lamb to pot and add 4 cups broth, 1 Tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. dried tarragon, and 2 bay leaves. Stir in potatoes and carrots, making sure potatoes are submerged in liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to preheated oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. When done, potatoes and lamb will be very tender.
I’ve shared a lot about what Markel Family holidays look like over the last few years, but I don’t think I’ve gone into any detail about a Markel Family Easter yet. It’s definitely a big event…while most of our holidays are celebrated over two (and occasionally three) days, a Markel Family Easter is a four-day event, because the Great Triduum cannot be separated from Easter Sunday!
Our observance of the Triduum always begins on Holy (Maundy) Thursday. Because the children were singing with their choir in St. Louis, we were not at our home church, but at one of our sister congregations. It was a beautiful service!
We were feeling especially ambitious on Good Friday. We started the day at another sister congregation in Waterloo, where we participated in a Karfreitag service, which is a German Good Friday service. We may not have understood all of the words, but the meaning was clear!
We then attend the Chief Service with our congregation, where we were privileged to receive the Lord’s Supper.
And that evening, we were back in St. Louis, where we again participated in the Chief Service, but this time with Schalk’s “The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. John” sung by the choir.
Much of Holy Saturday is a day of preparation, where I attempted to make as much of our Easter meal ready as possible. I baked bread and made a cake, and trimmed the lamb for our dinner. Once all that was done, we turned our attention to our big Holy Saturday tradition…the making of the Paschal candle for the year:
We then took our candle to the Great Vigil of Easter at another sister congregation, where we had it lit for the first time at the beginning of the service. This is definitely my favorite church service of the year, and it’s always over far too quickly. We did stop for hot fudge sundaes at McDonald’s on the way home, as we have for close to a decade, though, to keep the celebration going!
And that brings us to this morning, where we were up very early on the first day of the week for the Easter Sunrise service.
Bunny was not only the acolyte but the crucifer!
After the service was one of my favorite breakfasts of the year…our church makes great biscuits and gravy!
I have to take pictures after breakfast:
And then it’s time for the Divine Service. We were privileged to serve on the altar guild this morning, and we took extra care trying to make sure things were just right for this festival of festivals!
All four of The Bigs were able to assist in this service. Moose and Ladybug were acolytes and torchbearers, Bunny carried in the much-missed Alleluia banner, and Turkey was the crucifer:
After church and lunch at home, I got started on our Easter dinner:
This recipe for lamb stew was started on the stove top, and then finished cooking in the oven:
We had some beautiful new tables linens this year courtesy of my generous in-laws. The children loved being able to choose their own napkin color! I loved how spring-like the table looked!!!
Our dinner of lamb stew, homemade French baguettes, cherry Jell-O “salad”, and sparkling apple cider was a fairly simple holiday meal in some ways, and yet it was something everyone wanted and something I don’t usually make, so in the end, I think it was the perfect holiday meal!
Did I mention it was also delicious?
For dessert, we had a sponge cake soaked in lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd and filled and frosted with a lemon mascarpone cream:
It was also delicious!
It has been a busy, reverent, exhausting few days. But I wouldn’t want it any other way, and I’m so happy to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection the way we do!