Easter is the most important holiday for Christians around the world. Growing up in a Greek Orthodox household, we spare nothing for the celebration. At the center of every Greek Easter table is lamb. Lamb is an important part of any Greek celebration and it is one of our favorite proteins. (As long as there isn’t any mint jelly involved.)
When the American Lamb Board asked if we wanted to participate in a recipe contest for Lamb Jam DC, it was an easy decision. We wanted to stay true to Greek flavors but also do things a little bit differently. While we love Greek lamb, many Greeks cook the lamb well-done. We prefer it medium or medium-rare. And many times, there is a lot of excess fats in the cuts of lamb served. It’s not something we really look forward to. So, we needed to come up with a few solutions.
To get rid of some of the extra fat, we decided to butterfly the lamb in order to trim some of the fat normally missed on the inside of the leg. At the same time, we decided to cut the roast in half. While we love lamb, we didn’t want to eat it for weeks after Easter. It was just the two of us after all. (We’re already working on another recipe for the other half!) In order to cook the meat to a perfect medium, we cheated a little bit and used our digital meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. I’m not sure what we would do without it!
And, of course, we needed some kind of starch to soak up all the yummy juices. The obvious choice was potatoes. At family gatherings, we almost always have some kind of potatoes cooked with the juices of the meat and about a pound of butter. (And, that might even be underestimating. There’s A LOT of butter involved.) We may not have used a pound of butter, but the flavor was still there.
This recipe requires a little preparation and waiting time. But, we promise, it’s completely worth it. This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board by opinions are our own. Photos: Dan Jecha.
Roasted Greek Lamb and Potatoes
3.5 lbs American leg of lamb roast, butterflied with excess fat trimmed
½ cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
½ cup olive oil
1 tbsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 pounds potatoes (russet or yukon gold), sliced into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
Additional Lamb Seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
Butterfly your leg of lamb so it lies flat. Reduce the fat cap on top of the lamb to approximately 1/8-¼ of an inch thick. (You want a little bit of fat to keep the meat moist and add flavor to the potatoes.) Score the fat with vertical and horizontal lines (approx. 1″ x 1″) just bringing your knife through the fat to the meat. Remove any other excess fat on the roast. If necessary, pound out the leg of lamb so it has the same thickness throughout.
Place the lamb into a large plastic bag to marinate. In a bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag with the lamb.To maximize coverage, lay the lamb as flat as possible. Every few hours, rotate the meat. Marinade at least 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Pull the lamb out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours before roasting to bring it up to room temperature. (This allows it to cook evenly.)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Before preparing the meat for roasting, cut the potatoes into wedges as equal in size as possible. Place in the bottom of a deep roasting dish.
Remove the meat from the bag of marinade. Pour the remaining marinade from the lamb over the potatoes. For additional seasoning for the potatoes, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, black pepper and salt together and pour over the potatoes. (Adjust the amount if necessary. We love lemony potatoes.) Cut the butter into small cubes and distribute over the potatoes.
Lay the meat fat-side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle oregano, black pepper, salt and lemon zest. Roll the meat into a small roast making it as even as possible. Tie with butcher’s twine. Sprinkle additional seasonings over the top of the roast if you want a little extra flavor.
Place the meat over the potatoes. Cook for approximately 1.5-2 hours or until the internal temperature registers 145° F (m
edium). Stir the potatoes every 30 minutes.
When the lamb reaches temperature, pull it out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. Take the potatoes out of the roasting pan leaving behind any excess fat. (Don’t be afraid to dip some crusty bread or pita into the fatty, lemony mixture the potatoes leave behind. We won’t tell your cardiologist. Just make sure you do a few extra laps and/or reps at the gym.)
Slice the lamb and serve with the potatoes.