Lamb is traditionally served at Easter, but there are loads of ways to cook it other than your usual Sunday roast.
We asked chefs their favourite ways to prep lamb for a delicious Easter feast. Whether you’ll be with your own household, eating outside with friends or family in the garden, or whipping up dinner for yourself, these recipes are sure to improve your day.
Lavender and rosemary leg of lamb
Chef Richard Corrigan, from Bentleys, says this recipe is one of his all-time Easter favourites. “The lavender adds a beautiful floral flavour to the dish and complements the honey nicely,” he says.
2kg/4½lb leg of lamb, on the bone
1 small bunch of English lavender
5 sprigs of rosemary
2 cloves garlic
1 small jar of honey
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Remove the lavender buds from the stalks and add to the honey Pull the rosemary leaves from the stalks and place in a blender. Add the salt and blitz.
2. Rub the lamb all over with the salt and place in a roasting tray.
3. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. After which remove the foil and leave to roast for a further 40 minutes (for medium).
4. Pour over the lavender and honey, return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
5. Remove the lamb and leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes, with some foil on top to keep it warm. Serve with the pan juices and spring vegetables.
Chef Will Bowlby, who works at modern Indian restaurant, Kricket, recommends changing up your Easter feast. “Why not spice up your Easter this year with a centrepiece alternative to your usual roast lamb,” he suggests.
A leg of lamb on the bone
4 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
2 tablespoons Kashmiri red chilli powder
Pinch of sea salt
2 fresh Indian bay leaves
3 star anise
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cinnamon stick
400 ml (14 fl oz/generous 11⁄2 cups) white distilled vinegar
About 1.6 litres (56 fl oz/62⁄3 cups) cold water
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) double (heavy) cream
A generous pinch of saffron strands, soaked in a little warm water
3 tablespoons garam masala
1. Rub the meat with the ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder and a pinch of salt and leave overnight to marinate. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/Gas 6).
2. Transfer the leg to a deep ovenproof pan, add the remaining spices and vinegar, then pour in the water (it should just cover the meat). Cover the pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
3. Lower the oven temperature to 160C (320F/Gas 3) and cook for a further 4–5 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.
4. Remove from the oven, take the meat out of the braising liquid and allow to cool. The meat is cooked when you can easily pick it from the bone. Transfer the braising liquid to a heavy-based saucepan and boil over a high heat until it has thickened and the flavours have intensified. Strain the liquid into a separate pan, reduce the heat and add the cream, saffron and garam masala. Reduce for a further 5 minutes, adjust the seasoning to taste and set aside to cool.
5. When you are ready to serve, heat a large frying pan (skillet) over a high heat and sear off the meat to get a nice crispy exterior. Add the braising liquid to the pan and spoon the liquid over the meat until it coats it nicely. Serve the meat whole, in its braising liquid.
Lamb shoulder fricasee
Asimakis Chaniotis, chef at Pied à Terre, says: “Although it sounds French, lamb fricassée is a Greek Easter dish which I have grown up with. It’s so good, I could eat it all year round so it’s a shame it’s traditionally only eaten at midnight on the Saturday of the Easter weekend.”
1kg of boneless shoulder of lamb with the fat and chopped in cubes
Good drizzle of vegetable oil
2 medium leeks, sliced
10 shallots, chopped
6 stalks of celery, with their leaves, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 heads of lettuce cut in half and then sliced 2cm thick
A bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
A bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
A bunch of chervil finely chopped
For the sauce:
3 medium eggs, separated
Juice of 2 medium lemons
1 tbsp cold water
1 tsp corn flour
1. Cut the meat into 1 inch chunks. Pat down the lamb to remove any excess moisture then brown it on all sides over medium-high heat in the vegetable oil in a large saucepan
2. Add the leeks, onions, and celery to the pot and sauté gently until the vegetables soften. Add the chicken stock to cover the mixture and season it generously with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 90 minutes, removing the lid for last 30 minutes
3. Chop all the herbs, reserving some for garnish. Chop the lettuce and add it to the pot, along with the herbs. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes, or, until the lamb is fork-tender and a small amount of liquid (about a cup or so) remains in the pot. Turn off the heat
4. Prepare the egg-lemon (avgolemono) sauce:
In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites with the teaspoon of cold water and cornflour until very frothy. Whisk in the egg yolks and lemon juice. Temper the avgolemono sauce by slowly adding one ladleful of the hot liquid from the pot to the small bowl with the eggs, while whisking the whole time. Continue with a second ladleful of the hot liquid and whisk again. Now add the avgolemono to the pot and stir gently to incorporate.
Shake the pot a few times to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together.
If you need to reheat the lamb fricassée before serving, do so very gently, making sure the stew does NOT come to a boil (the egg will scramble).
5. Place on a serving platter, topped with the reserved chopped herbs. Good, crusty bread is a must and a Greek salad on the side is always a good idea.