One of our traditions is to cook lamb for dinner on Easter Sunday. Typically, we will cook either a leg of lamb or a rack of lamb, but sometimes we enjoy lamb chops instead. Lamb has a very distinct flavor and it can certainly stand up to robust seasonings. Below are some of our favorite recipes that we have shared previously and that are some of our go-to recipes.
Roasted Leg of Lamb – There is something about having lamb that is very emblematic of the coming of spring to us and we look forward to this meal every year. Oven roasted red potatoes is definitely our favorite starch to serve with lamb and sautéing spinach made for a light and refreshing vegetable.
Lamb Chops Marinated with Dijon Mustard and Herbs – Some people find lamb to be a little “gamey”, but we enjoy the robust flavor and it can stand up to a variety of spices. This is a simple recipe and yet it is quite delicious. The key to lamb is to ensure that you get the temperature right because if it is over-cooked, it can become dry, but if it isn’t cooked to mid-rare it can be chewy. You can substitute dry herbs for the fresh herbs, but use fresh herbs if at all possible as it will taste much brighter.
Rack of Lamb – Lamb is one those ingredients that is quite common around the world and can be used in a variety of dishes. Rack of lamb makes for an elegant presentation and is very tasty if cooked properly. Having an instant-read thermometer handy is a key to making sure that you cook the lamb to a medium temperature with a pink interior.
Almost everywhere that travel to has a traditional lamb meal, but it isn’t as common here in the United States. And because it isn’t as popular here, it can be expensive to buy, but it certainly worth treating yourself to from time to time. Ground lamb isn’t as expensive as other options and, if you’re only cooking for a few people, lamb chops are another good choice. If you really want to have a dinner with a dramatic presentation, then cooking a rack of lamb is an obvious choice. Since lamb can have a stronger flavor, it is often paired up with other flavorful spices such as those found in Mediterranean or Indian cooking. Whatever style of cooking you prefer, hopefully one of these options will tempt you to give lamb a try.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Gravy – There is something about having lamb that is very emblematic of the coming of spring to us and we look forward to this meal every year. We don’t get leg of lamb very often because it is just the two of us, but we enjoy using the leftovers for other meals. Oven roasted red potatoes is definitely our favorite starch to serve with lamb and sautéing spinach made for a light and refreshing vegetable.
Delicious Lamb Biryani – Our favorite meal when we visited India was Lamb Biryani. It isn’t a particularly difficult dish to create, but it does take a bit of time and preparation. It turned out to be quite delicious and very fragrant. Depending on how spicy you like your food, you can control some of the heat by changing the amount of cayenne pepper or type of green chili that you use. We served ours over Basmati rice, but regular rice would be just as good.
Roasted Rack of Lamb – Rack of lamb can be an elegant meal and it is a good idea to ask the butcher to “French cut” the bones, which is simply removing the meat and fat from the bone tips. Some people like mint jelly with lamb, but we prefer to simply roast it with herbs like rosemary and thyme. Our preference is to cook the lamb to medium-rare or medium at the most, which keeps it moist and tender.
Lamb Chops Marinated with Dijon Mustard and Herbs – This is a simple recipe and yet it is quite delicious. We served ours with oven roasted red potatoes and brussels sprouts, which made for perfect accompaniments. You can substitute dry herbs for the fresh herbs, but you should use fresh herbs if at all possible as the flavors will be better.
Moussaka – One of the dishes that we truly enjoyed while we were staying in Europe was Moussaka. Although we went to Athens, Greece, it was in Frankfurt that we ended up trying Moussaka for the first time. Most of the staff at our favorite restaurant were actually Greek and although it was a French Bistro, they sometimes put something Greek as their special of the day. This is an inexpensive and easy dish to create, but the flavor is quite wonderful.
Greek Lamb and Rice Dinner – We used a tajine to cook the dish, but it could just as easily be entirely cooked in a skillet. Finishing the lamb chops in the rice and tomatoes keeps it moist and tender. Similar to cooking with wine, when cooking with olives it is always important to use an olive that you would eat on its own without adding it to a dish.
With so many options for cooking lamb, it can be a perfect weeknight dinner or centerpiece for a special occasion. Of all of these meals, the one that is probably our favorite is the Lamb Biryani as it reminds of us of our time in India. Although that might be our favorite, looking back at each of these has inspired us to cook a nice lamb dinner sometime soon.
We enjoyed having different styles of duck in many different locations throughout Europe. Although we often will pan-sear duck to render off the fat, roasting it with the skin pricked is another way to cook that provides a crispy skin. Whether you use the pan drippings or happen to have duck stock as we did, serving it with a gravy enhances the flavor. Another side dish that we had in several places was bread dumplings, which is a cross between a savory bread pudding and stuffing.
14ozStale Bread (about 1 loaf)cut into 1 – 2 inch pieces
Salt and Pepperto taste
Prick the skin of the duck with a fork and brush it with a the olive oil. Season the duck with the fresh sage, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place the duck on a lined baking sheet and let the duck come up to room temperature.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Set them aside to cool.
Mix the milk and eggs in a large bowl with the nutmeg and add half of the bread pieces. Let this sit for 30 minutes to fully let the bread soak up the custard mixture.
Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Coat the remaining bread with melted butter and place in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the bread has toasted lightly.
Coat the Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons of softened butter, even if it is a non-stick pan.
Add the toasted bread, sautéed onion, carrots, celery, parsley, salt and pepper, and thoroughly fold everything together. Poor into the Bundt pan.
Put the bread dumpling mixture into an oven heated to 325 degrees and cook for 90 minutes. When done, remove and set aside.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and then add the duck and let roast for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, turning the duck every 10 minutes so that it cooks evenly and the skin gets crispy. When done, let the duck rest for about 10 minutes.
In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the flour to make a roux. Stirring constantly, slowly whisk in the duck and chicken stock. Add the remaining teaspoon of garlic, dried sage, salt and pepper. Simmer until the gravy has thickened.
Cut the duck and serve with gravy and slices of bread dumplings.