One of my favorite things about making lamb for Easter is that we often have enough leftovers to freeze so we can enjoy gyros in the weeks following. I’m not claiming they’re authentic (I’m certainly not shaving the meat off of a vertical rotisserie!), but I do make homemade tzatziki sauce to go with them, so the flavor is pretty much what I remember from growing up in the Chicago area!
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.
Let’s start by focusing on what I liked about our Easter dinner. I set a very nice table, don’t you think? I love getting out our table linens and china, and making some kind of centerpiece. The side dishes were our standard family favorites: roasted potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts, pan-fried asparagus, cherry cola Jell-O, and mini croissants. Nothing terribly fancy, but dependably delicious. And the dessert was great. I tried a new recipe for a lemon curd swirl cheesecake with a homemade strawberry sauce. It took hours to get the whole thing made yesterday, but it looked and tasted great, so it was worth it. Those are all good things about our Easter dinner!
You may have noticed I didn’t mention the lamb. Despite the fact that I followed the recipe exactly (a recipe I have successfully made in the past, for the record), the lamb was way overdone. I don’t care what anybody who was at the dinner table said…it was not good. And since that was supposed to be the star of the meal, that was a huge disappointment to the chef.
Anyway, I’m going to try to focus on what I liked about the meal. And maybe not make lamb again next year.
Of course a holiday means a family feast!
I went with a primarily gold and white table again this year…I think it’s very Easter-y. And as always, our new Paschal candle was the centerpiece:
This year’s menu was a little bit the same as last year’s, and a little bit different. We had roast lamb, a lovely trio of vegetables (asparagus, carrots, and brussels sprouts), roast potatoes, Jell-O “salad” and some mini croissants that were a huge hit!
For dessert, there was a choice of carrot cake or French silk pie…two of my favorites:
We have enough leftover lamb to enjoy gyros for dinner tomorrow…it’s a feast that keeps on giving!
This year, I decided to try something new for Easter…I made lamb!
We also had a variety of vegetables (including not only green, but also purple Brussels sprouts!), roast potatoes, and our favorite Jell-o “salad”:
For dessert, I tried a new recipe for a fruit and ice cream cake:
I love any opportunity for a special family meal!