Lamb Feasts for Easter & Passover

For many, the Easter & Passover weekend is a time steeped in tradition and festive eats. From locally sourced eggs and natural meats to organic potatoes, peas and veggies visit the Co-op to find ingredients and treats to make the weekend a total success.

amlamb

A culinary bridge across cultures, lamb meat is a staple of spring cooking that dates back to ancient times and is rooted in a number of traditions. Visit our natural Meat & Seafood Department to select high quality 100% American raised lamb roasts, shoulder chops, and ground lamb. Have questions or need tips? Ask a friendly Co-op Meat Department staffer. Looking for inspiration? Check out this link to over 300 lamb recipes from the American Lamb Company.

Lamb meat has a distinctive, gamy taste. According to food writer Molly Birnbaum, this flavor is due to the animal’s fat and “a particular type of fatty acid that lambs have that beef doesn’t. This is something that humans can detect at tiny levels. It’s what gives lamb this gamy, more earthy taste than beef.” Traditionally lamb is served with rich sauces made from garlic, mint, rosemary or mustard. Keep reading for a few recipes that showcase lamb this season.

Wine, Cider & Beer Pairings

Compliment your lamb feast with a refreshing beverage. For red wine fans, find a match in a dry, fruit-forward Malbec or Pinot Noir from New Zealand, a geographic region that produces a lot of lamb. For white wine, try a snappy, bold Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

Brew fans will find a good partner for lamb in a range of styles, from malt-balanced pale and amber ales (such as Aslan’s Dawn Patrol or Dale’s Pale Ale) to porters and stouts. Reuben’s award-winning Robust Porter or Black Butte Porter ale are rich and slightly dry darker beer options. For cider, try a ruby hued Tieton Cherry Cider or tangy-sweet Tieton Apricot Cider – each $10.49 per 6-pk.

Marinated Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Roasted Potatoes

A traditional and classic preparation of a spring holiday meal, serve this grilled lamb dish with roasted potatoes and a side of Green Beans Amandine.

Ingredients:

For Lamb:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 bunch mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 8 lamb loin chop

For Potatoes:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, fresh ground, to taste

Directions:

For Lamb: In bowl, add garlic, shallot, herbs, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Place lamb chops into a bowl and add 3/4 cup of marinade (reserve remaining marinade for sauce). Mix to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Grill lamb chops over medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side or until medium-rare, 145 °F. Remove from heat and allow the lamb chops to rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle chops with the reserved mint and garlic sauce. Serve with roasted potatoes and green beans.

For Potatoes: Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 425°F. In a bowl, combine 1/8 cup of olive oil and remaining ingredients. Toss to coat potatoes. Pour 1/8 cup olive oil onto hot sheet pan and allow to heat for 1 minute. Place potatoes onto hot sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with a side of beans.

Spring Gyros with Apricot Salsa

Serve this bright and flavorful lamb with pita bread and fresh pea shoots. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. Add to green salad, rice or grain dishes if desired.

Ingredients:

For Lamb:

  • 3-5 pounds boneless leg of American lamb
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

For Apricot Salsa:

  • 1/2 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper

For Yogurt Sauce:

  • 4 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine shallot, garlic, dill, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Rub the mixture over the entire surface of the leg of lamb, place in a roasting dish and roast until thermometer reads 135-140 degrees for medium rare, cooking time will depend on size of your lamb. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing (meat will continue to cook a little once removed from oven).

Make the apricot salsa by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing together.

Make the yogurt sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in another small bowl.

To serve, toast pitas on a grill or greased skillet until golden brown. Add lamb to the pitas, top with yogurt sauce, apricot salsa and garnish with fresh pea shoots.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.