Friday, 6 April 2012

Spanish Roast Lamb - an Easter treat

The roast lamb that many eat on Easter Sunday goes back earlier than Easter to the first Passover of the Jewish people. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs  in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. As Hebrews converted to Christianity, they naturally brought along their traditions with them. The Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God. Thus, the traditions merged.

As per usual, I've opted for a Spanish recipe because Spanish-seasoned leg of lamb is a very special dish. The key ingredients are in the seasonings: Cumin and paprika are the perfect compliments to this tender and juicy lamb. If you are a lamb lover, you simply have to try this recipe. Spanish oven potatoes topped with manchego cheese is a must compliment for this scrumptious dish...........however an Easter cocktail maybe in order first.

How about a French Martini ?
 vodka, Chambord  (black and red raspberry liqueur) and pineapple juice

 or maybe a jug of the very popular - Mojito?

Roast Lamb (Cordero Asado)

2 1/2 lbs. of leg of lamb
4 cloves chopped garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
a sprig of fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
2 large onion (halved)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle of Spanish red wine

Salt and pepper the leg of lamb on both sides generously. Mix all spices, herbs (except the bay leaves) and garlic together and add  2 tablespoons of olive oil to make a pasty texture.

Marinate at room temperature for an at least an hour. You could do this rub the night before and keep it refrigerated until an hour before you prepare it. Letting meat rest at room temperature before cooking it will keep the meat tender.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In large saute pan add remaining olive oil. Sear lamb on both sides. Remove lamb and place in an oven-proof dish. De-glaze the pan with a 1/2 a bottle of red wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Pour over the lamb. Reduce oven temp accordingly. Put lamb into the oven - adding the halved onions and bay leaves to the de-glazed sauce and roast slowly. Baste often and use a little more red wine if needed. Roast for 20 minutes per pound.

Serves 6 to 8