Conventionally, the highlight of Easter Sunday’s dinner is a roast lamb dish. While many credit this to Spring being lambing season, the reason is actually rooted in the Old Testament in which we learn that the Children of Israel ate the gamey meat in remembrance of their Exodus from Egypt, when they were commanded by God to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood on their doorposts so that the angel of death would “pass over” their homes when carrying out the final plague—the slaying of the firstborn—in retribution for the Egyptians’ cruelty. Subsequently, Jews have honored their escape from slavery by sacrificing the Paschal Lamb at Passover. Since the Pesach seder was Jesus’ Last Supper, it is believed that the Passover lamb must have been his final meal, and therein lies the roots of the Easter tradition. (Fun Fact: Incidentally, this is also why Easter is the only ‘moveable holiday’ on the Christian calendar—it falls in line with the Jewish Passover, which is dependent on a lunar (versus solar) calendar year.)
In honor of the Easter and Passover holidays, here’s one of Celebrity’s takes on roast lamb, which we think is the perfect update to your traditional Easter meal.
1 (12-pound) lamb leg (boned, whole)
10 garlic cloves (peeled, cut in four lengthwise)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large white onions (rough chopped)
4 large carrots (rough chopped)
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
With a small boning knife, make small incisions randomly around the leg of lamb. Insert the cut garlic cloves into the incisions, and with fingertips, press cloves all the way into the meat.
In a small mixing bowl, combine chopped rosemary with salt and spices; mix well and set aside. Brush lamb leg with olive oil, rub with the rosemary and spice mix. In a roasting pan, place onion and carrots on bottom; place leg of lamb on top.
Cook lamb or 7 to 10 hours, or until completely tender and almost falling from the bone. Remove and serve with a salad and tzatziki sauce.