Is there anything more traditional than cooking Greek lamb on Easter Sunday? Not for a Greek there isn’t. Celebrate Easter with what is the best meat you can roast, either in an oven, on the Weber bbq or if you are lucky enough, on the spit (rotisserie). Today we cook Greek Lamb, one of our favorite lamb dishes. Greek lamb roasted using traditional herbs and spices as a marinade
Simple to prepare and cook greek lamb is a great dish when cooking for a crowd. The scent of roasting lamb combined with garlic, rosemary and lemon is one of life’s great pleasures. It is a classic dish and leaves the host or hostess with plenty of time to entertain and impress your friends and family.
Lamb is a popular red meat in Greece, as it is elsewhere in the region. We take a closer look at how lamb is eaten in Greece and in expatriate Greek communities around the world.
Read on for the recipe and make sure you procure a leg of lamb for Sunday, you won’t regret it.
Greek Lamb in Greece and Around The World
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It is very traditional in Greece to break the Lent fast on Easter Sunday feasting on roast lamb, roast potatoes and village salad. Family groups (and invited friends) often gather at a designated house to enjoy the roasted lamb being cooked on a spit. A whole sheep is used and this can take most of the day to cook. Whilst the lamb is cooking, there is much merriment with raki, wine, dancing and mezethes (small dishes) being consumed in the meantime. Can you just imagine that with the sweet scent of roasting garlic and rosemary-infused lamb? You can read more about Greek Easter here, including the fact that it is not this coming weekend in Greece!
Other popular methods of roasting lamb in Greece are in the home, outdoor oven. We saw these everywhere on the island of Naxos. Essentially the same as an outdoor pizza oven, it is wood-fired. The lamb can be hot roasted (usually a leg of lamb) or slow roasted (usually a shoulder of lamb). Bread is also cooked in the outdoor oven.
Other great ways to cook Greek lamb to enjoy:
- loin chops or cutlets over a charcoal BBQ;
- gyros (the meat part in souvlaki);
- lamb baked in claypot with kritharaki (a form of Greek pasta); and
- moussaka (usually with eggplant).
I could go on. The bottom line is that Greeks know a thing or two about cooking lamb. It is an essential part of Greek cuisine. And it is good. So good that Greek methods of cooking lamb have been exported all over the world.
Cook Greek Lamb Roast at Home
Unfortunately, I don’t have a spit or outdoor oven to cook Greek lamb. The next best option in my opinion is to use a charcoal-fired Weber (or kettle) BBQ. An indoor oven also works and it is what I use in the winter.
Your next decision is which cut of lamb to select. For high temperature roasting like this, I prefer to use a leg of lamb. It can be either boned or whole.
I also prefer to marinate my lamb overnight to allow all those great, Greek flavors to permeate through the meat. If you don’t have time for an overnight marinade you can still cook straight away. You will still end up with a great result.
Marinating your leg of lamb is the only preparation required, until you are ready to slice the cooked meat.
Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your leg. Here is a great website to calculate the cooking time based on the weight (in pounds or kilograms).
It is traditional to serve Greek lamb with Roast Potatoes and Village Salad. It is a great combination everyone will enjoy.
Want something to accompany your Greek lamb? Try this easy Greek Village Salad. And for afters? Continue the Greek theme with these loukoumades (Greek donuts). Or you can go the full Monty and prepare a Greek-themed feast, just perfect for a dinner party or special occasion lunch.
Fancy roast lamb with Latin American flavors? Click here for Roast Lamb with Chimichurri Sauce.