By Samantha
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I clearly remember the day my parent’s cut me off from my Easter basket. It was a sad day… one void of hollow bunnies and caramel filled eggs. I was in high school, but I certainly wanted to cry like a child. Why would anyone stop this wonderful tradition of plying their child with sugary snacks? Beats me…

Growing up, Easter was always about the baskets, the Easter egg hunts, and colorful pastel dresses. But now, it has come to represent the arrival for spring’s bounty for me. While the past few years have dumped snow on us around this holiday, and local spring produce is limited, I look to Easter menus from around the world for meal inspiration all spring long.

Easter is all about zippy herb vinaigrettes, spring onions & leeks, lamb, eggs, and more. And all of those things are available to us right now. And pretty soon, we will begin to see buttery lettuce, asparagus, radish and peas. So my new spring cooking motto is: Eat Everyday like it’s Easter! Because there are just too many good recipes out there to ignore and limit to just ONE day this season.

Favorite Recipes for Breakfast & Lunch

If your Easter brunch table isn’t filled to the brim with quiche, deviled eggs, ham, tarts & tartines, sweet or savory dutch babies, vibrant pureed vegetable soups, colorful crudité and green salads, you’re doing it wrong. But you have a chance to redeem yourself by making these oh-so-delicious items all spring long.

Spring Onion Dutch Baby

Green Garlic & Pea Soup With Whipped Cream

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

Favorite Recipes  for Dinner

We were never much of a ham family for Easter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but it’s never seemed like much of a challenge for the adventurous home cook. Now and days you’ll find some really interesting recipes on Pinterest, so it’s worth taking a second look at. I personally go right for the roast leg of lamb, braised lamb shanks, or even ground lamb.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes and Asparagus Gremolata 

Roman Style Spring Lamb with Fresh Sugar Snap Pea Salad 

Braised Leg of Lamb Served Over Pappardelle with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The seasoning here really makes this dish drool-worthy. Penzey’s lamb seasoning includes Turkish oregano, rosemary, cumin, celery, paprika, black pepper, onion, garlic, spearmint and ginger. And I was surprised when I saw a lot of recipes call for white wine instead of red, but I think I actually like it with a dry white. I think this recipe would be fantastic with a medley of spring veggies, so use whatever is available at your local farm market. And as always, buy pastured, 100% grass fed lamb whenever you can.

Braised Leg of Lamb Served Over Homemade Pappardelle with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

(serves 4)

1 small leg of lamb (3lb)

1 tbsp. of Penzey’s lamb seasoning

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup halved or quartered brussels sprouts

1lb fresh papardelle pasta (homemade is best!)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

 

Remove your leg of lamb from the fridge and season generously with the lamb seasoning and salt. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degreesFahrenheit.

In a dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and seat the lamb on all sides.

Remove lamb and saute the diced onions until caramelized (about 10 minutes). Add another glug of olive oil if the onions aren’t shimmering. Throw in the garlic and mix around for 30 seconds before deglazing the pan with the white wine. Pour in half a cup of chicken stock, and reserve the rest.

Add the lamb back to the pan, cover, and stick in the oven for 3 hours, turning every half hour. Add in more chicken stock if the pan is starting to dry out.

While the lamb is braising and you have about a half hour left of cooking time… 

Quarter the brussels sprouts and coat in olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or so.

Get a pot of water boiling.

Back to the lamb…

I was surprised to find my lamb fork tender after 3 hours. I had budgeted 4 hours, but I guess due to its small size it didn’t take very long. Now, you should have liquid and onions left in the pan. I like to puree these to get a nice thick sauce to go with my pasta.

Once the lamb is out of oven and your drippings have been pureed,  drop in your pappardelle. Homemadepappardelle may take just a few minutes to cook.

While the pappardelle is cooking, shred the lamb and stick it back in your dutch oven. Pour in your sauce.

Drain your pappardelle but reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Throw the pappardelle in with the lamb and sauce and mix it all together. If it seems dry, add in your pasta water in small amounts.

When you get to the right consistency, mix in your brussels sprouts, parsley, and parmesan cheese. You can add even more pasta water now if the cheese made the pasta too thick.

Serve hot and enjoy!

About the Author

Grazin' in New Jersey since 1988

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