Whether you celebrate Easter with lunch, brunch or dinner, chances are you’ll be serving (or eating) some very traditional recipes and dishes, like a gleaming glazed baked ham, plump hot cross buns, or the most traditional of Easter dishes, a nice and beautiful roasted leg of lamb.
Christ is called “The Lamb of God”, but the tradition of serving lamb for Easter actually has its origins before the advent of Christianity. It’s rooted in the Passover celebration, when the people of Egypt, tormented by plagues, painted their doors with lamb blood so that the evil would “pass over” their homes. Later, Jews who converted to Christianity took the tradition of eating roasted lamb to Easter celebrations.Aside from the religious symbolism, lamb was also one of the more readily available of fresh meats after the winter, so it makes sense that it would have been eaten around that time.
Religious symbolism or seasonal availability, the points is that today we are lucky enough to savor this exquisite dish during Easter, which is good news for lamb-loving foodies. Not only is roasted lamb delicious, it’s also super easy to make and can easily feed a large crowd of family and friends. Superbly flavorful and naturally tender (no marinade required!), a leg of lamb requires almost no work to roast to perfection.
Buy Lamb Legs & Shanks
For our Easter Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon Roasted Lamb Leg, we used a bone-in leg of lamb because we just love the drama it adds to the table and we’re suckers for beautiful presentation. You can use a boneless leg if you don’t like carving and it won’t affect the flavor– although some cooks are adamant that the bone gives it added depth.
Depending on the size of the lamb you get, you will roast it for longer or shorter periods of time, to your desired doneness. Medium-rare is usually best for leg of lamb, but that depends on personal preference. We don’t recommend rare lamb, and well-done usually means overdone for lamb meat.
The easiest way to hit the level of doneness you want? Use a meat thermometer and follow these guidelines. For Medium-Rare: 125°F to 130°F. For Medium:130°F to 135°F.
Serve the lamb with roasted or mashed potatoes, perhaps some delicious grilled asparagus, or maybe risotto or wild rice. Keep the sides simple and let your gorgeous, perfectly roasted lamb leg shine!