In Greece, the Easter holiday celebration is bigger than Christmas. Lamb is the typical main course of a Greek Easter menu.
You will need
- Leg of lamb
- 1 3/4 tsp. olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium head garlic
- plus 4 minced cloves
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Dried oregano
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 lb. baking potatoes
- 7 c. chicken stock
- 2 c. uncooked orzo
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- 4 large eggs
- Red wine
- Heavy roasting pan
- Meat thermometer
- 13 x 9-inch baking dish
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
Step 1 Prepare the lamb Leave the lamb at room temperature for an hour. Carve off the fat, leaving only a thin layer. Rub the lamb with olive oil and season it with a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then put the lamb in a heavy roasting pan and preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2 Make garlic paste Rub 1/4 teaspoon olive oil onto the head of garlic. Wrap it loosely in foil, and bake it for an hour. Then let it cool, cut off the top, and squeeze the roasted garlic into a bowl. Mash it into a paste and mix in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oregano, the parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Step 3 Roast the lamb Roast the lamb for 1 hour. Then rotate the pan and roast it for another 30 minutes. Then slather the roast with the garlic paste, and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 160 degrees. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Step 4 Toss the potatoes Peel and cut potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes and lay them in a single layer in the baking dish. Toss them with 1/2 cup olive oil, the minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
Use crushed red pepper as an alternative to black pepper for a different taste.
Step 5 Bake potatoes Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup of the stock and toss. Bake for 10 minutes and then add 1/3 cup lemon juice and toss again. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
Put the potatoes in the oven with the lamb to cook at the same time.
Step 6 Serve avgolemono Serve avgolemono soup as the appetizer. Boil 6 cups of the chicken stock, and add the orzo. Cook until it is al dente, adding salt and pepper to taste. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water and heat the remaining stock until it is hot.
Step 7 Mix in eggs Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until they’re fluffy, and then add the cornstarch and 3/4 cup of lemon juice. Turn the mixer to low, and thicken it by slowly adding the hot chicken stock. Put the orzo on low heat and add the egg mixture.
Step 8 Drink wine and have dessert Drink wine with the meal. A dark, spicy red wine goes perfect with lamb. Enjoy a slice of baklava for dessert.
An Easter tradition in Crete is the burning of a human-sized doll made of clothing to represent Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.