roasted-lambMany of us carnivores look for hams as the center of the Easter dinner table, but most of us do not have the luxury of knowing where the animal was raised. Unless you know where your pig lived and you are sure it was raised in a very humane way, consider the lamb.

Most lamb today is raised on grass on farms and less likely to experience the confined factory farm conditions other animals do. On Martha’s Vineyard, lambing season has begun. All farmers begin lambing at different times in the Spring and for most farms, lambing lasts two or three weeks in March and April. Lambs on farms live their whole lives on the farm, eating mostly hay and grass, and are brought to the slaughterhouse at six or seven months.

If you don’t have the luxury of having a farmer’s market nearby, and you go to the grocery store, your lamb meat is going to have a higher chance of being treated better than your pigs, chicken or cattle.

And just one more consideration, do you really want to grab that Australian or New Zealand lamb that traveled 10,000 miles to get here?

Lamb was one of the first meat meals I cooked when I went off to college. Back then there was no internet to look up recipes. I asked the butcher and he guided me through the whole process. He suggested garlic, thyme and rosemary and 40 years later I still use this mix to flavor my lamb. The flavors of garlic and lemon and rosemary compliment lamb and I like to lightly rub the lamb an hour before roasting.

This recipe calls for a deboned leg of lamb. Legs vary in size with an average leg being 4.5 pounds for a locally raised deboned leg of lamb.

The cooking time will be a bit longer if you have a leg with the bone it it, but use a thermometer to ensure the doneness of your meat.

(Butterflied simply means that the bone has been removed or the meat was sliced away from the bone).

Oven temp 450°

1 4.5 lb lamb leg – deboned

For the rub:

4 garlic cloves mince

¼ cup of rosemary leaves

2 onions, minced

4 whole garlic cloves

4 sprigs of thyme- leaves removed

juice of one lemon

For deglazing the pan:

1 cup red wine

1 cup stock- either beef, lamb or chicken

Make a paste mixture of minced garlic, red wine and rosemary and rub the lamb all over with paste. Smooth it evenly all over the surface of the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Allow the lamb to rest for one hour with the paste at room temperature.

Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and cook for about 1 hour longer, or until the internal temperature of the lamb is 135° (rare) or 145° (medium). Be sure the thermometer does not touch the bone. Remove from the oven and put the lamb on a platter; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow the lamb to rest for about 20-30 minutes before slicing.

While the lamb is resting, deglaze the pan:

Using the pan that the meat was cooked in, place the pan over the burner and turn on the burner to medium. Pour in the wine and stock and mix with the drippings. Add the minced onions to pan, and stir to combine.  Scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any meat particles, continuously stirring to cook and reduce. Reduce over high heat until it forms a sauce consistency. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over the top.

Jan Buhrman is a caterer, a localvore educator on Martha’s Vineyard. In the off season, Jan develops recipes  with nutritionist, John Bagnulo MPH, PhD, they together they hosts Diaeta Way. Diaeta Way  is one of the many websites that can help us find our own balance in nutrition. John and Jan have been forging the path to understanding our evolving nutritional world while finding balance and eating delicious meals around the table.

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Consider Lamb Over Ham For Your Easter Dinner This Year was last modified: by

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