Oven Roast Lamb & Potatoes
Easter is traditionally celebrated with lamb and for all of my 50+ years I never once gave it thought, why? So I looked it up and to my surprise the origins aren't from the times of Christianity but actually from a long time before that.Roast lamb has its roots in the early Jewish tradition of Passover, well before the birth of Christianity. When Egypt refused to free the Israelite slaves God sent the angel of death to kill their first born sons. Moses told the Jews to paint sacrificed lamb’s blood on their doors so that God would ‘pass over’ their homes while punishing the Egyptians for their sinns. The festival of Passover was born and when some Jews eventually converted to Christianity they carried on the tradition at Easter time.The following recipe is one that is followed traditionally over many parts of Greece. It is simple to execute and has a delicious result.
Cost: 15-20 Euro, 18-25 US$
- oven dish
- Aluminum Foil
- Kitchen timer
- 2,5-3 kg leg of lamb Use young lamb, no older than 6 months
- 1,5-2 kg non starchy potatoes peeled and cut into relatively large wedges
- 2 tbsp lard or butter for the potatoes
- 1 tsp sweet paprika for the potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil to rub the leg of lamb with
- 2-3 tsp salt both for the potatoes and the lamb
- 2 tsp dried oregano* (see notes) use for both the potatoes and the lamb.
- 2 leafs bay leafs dried leafs are just fine
- 6-8 cloves garlic whole and peeled
- 1 whole lemon squeezed
- 1 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 240°C (465°F)
- Remove the lamb form the fridge and leave rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- Grease a large oven dish with the lard or butter. Squeeze a lemon and poor the juice on top
- Peel, then wash, then cut the potatoes into large cubes. Place these into the dish, season with salt, paprika powder and oregano. Give the potatoes a good stir so that they are covered in lard, lemon and spices. Push the potatoes to the sides (in order to make space for the lamb in the middle)
- Cut slots into the lamb meat and rub the leg of lamb with olive oil and sprinkle salt and oregano all over. Then place the leg in the middle of the dish.
- Peel the garlic and place in the slots and around the leg. Use as much garlic as you'd like. Roast garlic is sweet and tasty. Add the bay leafs and poor in a cup of water.
- Cover with aluminium foil (shiny side facing inwards) and place into the preheated oven and cook for ½ an hour at 240°C (465°F). SET the Timer!!
- After the first half hour reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (355°F) and cook for an other 4 hours in total. After 3 hours remove the foil and roast the lamb uncovered for the last hour. Do not discard the foil.
- Remove from oven and cover the dish loosly with the foil and leave to rest for a minimum of 15 minutes.
I always use grass-fed, free range lamb. Not only does it taste better than non-organic lamb but the animal at least has had a life before being slaughtered for our benefit. About the oregano; I am lucky in that I get to pick my own from my mum's garden in Greece, where it grows wild. This type of oregano is quite pungent so if you use store bought oregano feel free to use a little more since its aroma is possibly weaker. I would not recommend using freshly cut oregano (unless added right at the end of cook time) because it will just wilt in the oven and add no flavour. Enjoy!