GR US

Lamb Recipes and Greek Wine Pairings for Easter

The National Herald Archive

The Dark Ale Lamb Shank at Amylos Taverna in Astoria. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Though this year may not be the time for roasting that whole lamb on the spit, we can all still enjoy the flavor and spirit of the season with the following lamb recipes and Greek wines that pair well with Easter dinner. Serve the meal with your favorite side dishes and spring vegetables, such as asparagus, roasted potatoes, and a green salad.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

1 whole leg of lamb

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Garlic cloves

Lemons

A few sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the leg of lamb in cool water and pat dry. Season the meat with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cut slits in the meat and place cloves of garlic in the slits. Place the leg of lamb in the roasting pan and add the fresh rosemary (or dried rosemary, if using) to the pan and roast in a 375-degree oven until the meat has reached the desired doneness. If your oven has a convection feature, use it, but raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Use a meat thermometer, if preferred, to make sure the meat is cooked to the correct temperature. The amount of seasoning depends on the size of the leg of lamb, so adjust according to taste. Tent with foil and allow the meat to rest after roasting for at least 10-15 minutes before carving to keep it moist and juicy.

Arnaki Kleftiko

2 pounds lamb cut into cubes

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Dried oregano

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 ounces kefalograviera cheese, cut into squares

2 cups frozen peas

2 medium carrots, cut into rounds

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced

2 large tomatoes, sliced into twelve pieces

In a mixing bowl, season the lamb cubes with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the lemon juice and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinade for an hour. In a large, deep pan, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil and lightly cook the peas and carrots, season with salt to taste. Set aside.

In another pan, heat the remaining olive oil and sear the marinated lamb cubes on all sides. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside. In a deep fryer or frying pan, fry the potatoes, until about half done. Cook the tomatoes in a little oil to start the cooking process. Set aside.

Divide up the cooked lamb cubes between six large pieces of parchment paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Add the potatoes, carrots, peas, and cheese, dividing them equally among the lamb cubes, along with two tomato slices for each packet. Season with salt and pepper to taste and fold up the packets or tie with kitchen twine into little bundles. Place the bundles on a baking pan and cook in a preheated 375-degree F oven for about 1 hour. Serve immediately.

Greek Wines for Easter

Greek wines are a perfect accompaniment to Easter dinner. Wine is also an excellent gift which every host and hostess always appreciates.

For those looking for white wines, the ancient variety Malagouzia is delicate with subtle floral notes and hints of wild mint. This wine pairs perfectly with lamb, tomatoes, and eggplant, which probably appear on everyone’s Greek Easter table in one form or another. Try Antonopoulos Achaia Malagouzia 2017 from Peloponnesos.

With a blend of grape varieties, vidiano, thrapsathiri, and vilana, all native to Crete, the 2016 Theon Dora from Giannis Stilianou in Crete is another white wine to try this Easter.

For pairing with desserts, the 2017 Terra Ambera from Manolis Garalis on Lemnos is made with the ancient muscat of Alexandria grape.

For those interested in red wines, Dougos Rapsani Old Vines comes from selected vineyards at least 60 years old. The color is light red, with a complex aroma of tomato and red fruits, sweet spices and herbs in the mouth, with a long aftertaste. It pairs well with meats such as lamb and goat.

The Wine Art Estate in Drama also produces excellent wines including the Techni Alipias Red, PGI Drama, is a delightful wine of real character, it can be consumed fresh or aged for several years. Serve at 60-64 degrees F (16-18 degrees C). Enjoy with strongly flavored dishes, such as game, red meats, and poultry in spicy sauces.

Retsina, the unique wine flavored with pine resin, also pairs well with Easter dinner. Try Manolis Garalis’ retsina from the island of Lemnos, made with organic muscat of Alexandria grapes, and Gaia Ritinitis Nobilis, made with select grapes of the Roditis variety which grow on the hills surrounding Nemea in Corinth.