The most common main dishes for Easter Sunday dinner are Glazed Ham or Roasted Lamb. I like to make Roasted Lamb, preferably leg of lamb. You may think you do not like lamb, but you may have never had it prepared properly. Leg of lamb is the best in the spring and it is not as hard as you may think.
Until I married my husband, AC, I had never had lamb. His family eats it with green mint jelly. I like the lamb without the jelly. Since AC is diabetic green mint jelly is out, so I decided to make a mint pesto. He did not enjoy the pesto as much as the jelly, but I liked because it is light and fresh.
I like sides simple so the lamb is the star of the meal. When simple things are made well, everyone enjoys the meal and there are very little leftovers.
Easter Dinner Menu
1 bag of Baby Kale and Spinach mix
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced (I prefer hot house cucumbers)
grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
parmesan cheese, shavings
Layer the baby kale and spinach, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and parmesan cheese shavings. You can use a vegetable peeler to make the strip of parmesan cheese. Make the orange viniagrette dressing and drizzle on top of the salad and toss lightly. Start with a smaller amount of dressing so you do not over dress the salad.
Orange Viniagrette Dressing
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
zest of half an orange
juice of half an orange
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. honey
2/3 cup olive oil
In a bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, dijon mustard kosher salt, black pepper, honey and mix well. While whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil. Refrigerate when done.
3-4lb. boneless leg of lamb or 4-5lb. bone in leg of lamb
3 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. softened butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub the lamb with the olive oil on all sides. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper all over the lamb.
Chop the rosemary and the garlic together and mix with the softened butter. On all sides of the lamb, spread the butter, garlic and rosemary mixture. Place on a baking rack or roasting rack so the heat from the oven will get cook the lamb more evenly. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and roast for 10-15 minutes per pound. Check with a meat thermometer. It should read 145-155 degrees, 145 if you like it more rare, 155 if you like it more done.
Let the lamb rest covered with foil for 15-20 minutes so the juices do not run of the meat and make it dry out.
Slice the lamb after resting. You want the lamb to still have some pink. Lamb will get tough if you cook it to well done. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
2 handfuls of mint leaves
1 handful of parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
handful of toasted walnuts, chopped
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 425. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Keep a watch on them because they will burn quickly. Place mint, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, zest and lemon juice in a food processor. When the walnuts are toasted, roughly chop them and add to the food processor. Pulse the processor a few times so the ingredients will mince and mix well. Stream in olive oil while the food processor is running. You want the pesto to be finely pureed. Add the parmesan cheese and pulse a few times to mix. Store the pesto in an air tight container with a thin layer of olive oil on top in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the lamb.
3lbs. russet potatoes
4-6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. half and half
1/4-1/2 tsp. granulated garlic powder
Peel and cube the potatoes.
Place in a large sauce pan and cover with COLD water to just cover the potatoes. Add 2 tsp. kosher salt to the potatoes, cover and bring to a boil. When the potatoes come up to a boil, turn heat down to a medium and boil until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the same pot back on the burner with the heat off. This will dry the potatoes so they will not be watery. Add the 4 Tbsp. butter, sour cream and half and half. Start with 1/2 tsp. black pepper and 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic. Mash and mix potatoes well. Taste for salt and butter. I like my potatoes more stiff. If you like your potatoes loser, add more half and half.
This is good for Lamb or Beef dishes
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic powder
1/8 tsp. granulated onion powder
1 Tbsp. half and half
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the 4 Tbsp. of butter. While whisking, add flour and combine well. This will make the roux that will thicken your gravy. Continue stirring using a spatula or wooden spoon for about a minute to make sure you will not have a flour taste in your gravy. Add the beef broth while stirring. Once you get all the broth added, you will find your gravy is loose. That is okay. The mixture needs to come back up to a boil and this will make the gravy thicken up. Reduce heat to low and add the Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard and thyme. The kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and granulated onion should be added to your taste. Once you get the gravy to your taste, add the half and half to make the gravy creamy and rich.
2 lbs asparagus
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. The ends of asparagus can be tough and woody so cut off about 1/4 to 1/3 from the bottom. Add the asparagus to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper. Toss to help the oil and seasoning cover all of the asparagus.
Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I use aluminum foil on the bottom of my baking sheet to make easy clean up.) Roast the asparagus in the oven for 10 minutes. While that is roasting, zest the lemon, juice the lemon, chop the fresh parsley and grate parmesan cheese. Mix this together and when the asparagus is done, drizzle over the top while still warm and serve right away.
The Orange Viniagrette and the Mint Pesto can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. You can also do any chopping of herbs or garlic a day ahead as well. Potatoes can also be peeled and cubed and covered with the water and stored covered in the refrigerator overnight.
The day of your Easter Dinner, start with the lamb first. Put your potatoes on to boil. Make your salad and keep in the refrigerator. When potatoes are tender, drain and mash. When you have completed the potatoes keep them on the cook top on warm, covered until ready to serve. Make the gravy and keep on the cook top as well on low, covered. Prep the asparagus to go in the oven when the lamb is done. When you are 10 minutes from sitting down put the asparagus in to cook.