Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring fairies and the great lamb cooking debate.

This year we're trying something a little bit different and a little bit the same.

The "Easter Bunny" is not coming this year. Jerry and I have decided the tradition of finding fake plastic eggs filled with candy while fun, is not what we want Easter to be about. Easter eggs hunts can be fun, but a bit like most holiday traditions, it seems to me to be about getting something. Candy, bunny shaped play dough, barbies dressed up in pastel dresses... fake grass. When did kids start getting presents in their Easter baskets? My mom has seven sisters and three brothers. She reports that on Easter they got dresses. When I was little my Mom would make us new dresses to wear to church too and we didn't really celebrate Easter with egg hunts and while we would have a bag of candy to share it wasn't left by an Easter bunny. It was purchased by my mom or Dad.

This year spring fairies are leaving the kids a basket with new gardening gloves, sun flower seeds, chalk and a little wooden fairy for each of the kids. I ordered the fairies on etsy and they'll join our nature shelf. However, the spring fairies don't come on Easter... they come on Earth day. We're planning to do a big clean up on our property and pick up garbage on the main road that borders our land. Afterwards we're having our spring dinner.

Roasted Leg of Lamb
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Vegetable Gravy
Lemon Merengue Pie

Every year for the last 4 years I've made the same menu and have used the same recipe for my lamb and it's always amazingly delicious!

Lamb is not eaten very often in the united states and is a bit pricey (6lbs for $30.00 at Safeway - my Costco card expired) and I think that people are a little bit afraid to make lamb. Like maybe it's hard to cook... it's not hard though friends, it's fun and the best meat ever!!

The most important thing to remember about cooking lamb is not to over cook it!! Lamb is so delicious and is already naturally a very tender meat and is best served a little pink. I've looked deeply into cooking lamb and have found two schools of thought on the matter. Searing on high heat then slow cooking OR slow cooking the entire time. I like the searing method myself. The other debate on lamb is what internal temperature is medium rare. Jerry is not into "rare" food but I am, probably from my sushi days. :) I generally pull my roast out at 130 degrees because while it rests it continues to cook it's self a bit. The first two years my meat thermometer wasn't very accurate but then my Dad brought me a totally awesome freaking huge meat/candy/internal/scanning thermometer... and I have no idea how to use it. lol. I always pull it out and try it first but then plunge in an instant read thermometer I bought for around $7.00 from Safeway. "They" say a mercury thermometer is best but I'm afraid of my kids breaking and all of us dying of mercury poisoning. (kidding)

I really like this marinade but any kind of marinade would be fine, just don't include salt as it really dries out the meat, if you want to salt it then put salt on at most 15 minutes before putting it in the oven.

Lamb Marinade
1/2 C. Oranje Juice
1 C White wine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2t. fresh thyme OR 1t of dried thyme
2T chopped fresh rosemary OR 1T dried rosemary
1/4t fresh ground pepper
2T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Blend all your ingredients in a blender, just a few pulses until well mixed.

Leg o' Lamb

1 6lb leg of lamb, bone in or boneless (If it is boneless it should be tied with kitchen string)

1. Please lamb and marinade in a plastic bag (I use a garbage bag - don't worry it's usually fresh) Squeeze out as much air from the bag and seal it. Make sure it's well sealed so that it doesn't leak!
Marinate over night in the refrigerator.
Remove lamb, still in the marinade bag from the fridge 30 minutes prior to putting it in the oven.

2. Preheat oven to 400. Arrange two racks in the oven - a middle rack to hold the lamb, and a lower rack to hold a roasting pan (to catch the yummy drippin's) Place the empty roasting pan in the oven while the oven is preheating.

3. Remove the lamb from the bag and arrange fattiest side up so that when the lamb is cooking the fat will melt into the meat (oh man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!) Place your lamb on the middle rack above the roasting pan.

4. Roast at 400 for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 300 for an hour (or 10 minutes per pound) and start checking the temperature around now. Depending on how you like your meat remove the lamb anywhere between 130F and 135F for medium rare. Again, lamb is not supposed to be well done, it'll be way too dry so if you're going to over cook it you may as well leave it at the butcher for someone who will appreciate it. :) Let your lamb stand for about 10 minutes before you carve. Cut away the kitchen string and slice with a sharp carving knife. It's best to cut 1/2" thick slices against the grain of the meat.

At this time you have the option of using the drippings for gravy. I personally like to use the America's test kitchen recipe for vegetable gravy.

A 6lb roast serves 8 to 10 people.

And then enjoy and take a nap afterwards.



  1. Not to be argumentative or anything (actually, yes to be argumentative but its all in love) but I don't know how fairies are any different then bunnies. I mean, they are still "getting stuff". And the whole point of the bunny is that it was representative of spring and all that, much like fairies are popular for today.

    I get the idea of making your own traditions, and I totally understand wanting to get rid of that stupid rabbit and all the "give-mes". We're doing gardening supplies as gifts as well (and candy too, I'll admit). Just dont see the value in switching the bunny for a fairy.

    By the way, yum lamb! I wanted some for Easter dinner but haven't bought it yet. ooops, hope its not too late.

  2. Two years ago we went to an Easter egg hunt with the kids and I felt so disgusted how the point was to rush as fast as you could grabbing as many eggs as you could and all these parents greedily stuffing the eggs in little plastic baskets so their kids could have more candy than other kids. Jerry agreed that it just didn't have anything to do with Christ. I love the idea of celebrating spring which is what I think a lot of people are doing on Easter, but I'm just moving it to Earth day so we can focus on the holiness of the Easter Holiday on Easter. I suppose the difference to me in the kids getting new stuff is that they are getting it on Earth Day for the purpose of enjoying spring outside and not getting something because Jesus rose from the grave. Plus, I love fairies and don't love the over commercialized bunny. For the record I don't judge other people celebrating this way, we have until this year and who knows what we'll do next year.

    I've only found lamb in Spokane at Safeway or Costco. Good luck finding one and Happy Easter! :)