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Catholic Recipe: Greek Easter Lamb


  • Leg of lamb
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice
  • marjoram
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • potatoes
  • 1 cup of tomatoes or 2 cups tomato juice


Prep Time: 3 hours

Difficulty: • • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: Greece


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As in so many other lands, Greece prefers the lamb for Easter dinner to all other meats, though there is a very special bread called the Bread of Christ, marked with a cross and decorated with red Easter eggs, which is also a required item. But the important thing is lamb. In fact, there comes from Macedonia this proverb, "Easter without lamb is a thing that cannot be."


Prepare your leg of lamb as usual. When it is ready for the oven, make three or four incisions and insert in each a clove of garlic. Rub with salt and pepper, lemon juice, and a generous portion of marjoram. Wild marjoram is used in Greece and is called rigano. If you can get dried orégano, use this instead of the marjoram. In Greek origanon means "the joy of the mountains." Since leg of lamb is inclined to be dry, most cooks advise leaving the skin, or fell, around it. However, then the seasoning does not penetrate as well as it should. Should your lamb be dry, rub it well with 2 tablespoons of butter before applying the seasoning. Lamb should be well done, in a moderate oven, and basted from time to time with the pan juices.

It may be served with rice or potatoes or eggplant. If using potatoes, slice them thin and add them to the roast, with a cup of tomatoes, half an hour before the roast is done. If using rice, this may also be added to the roasting pan but see that it has been cooked for about ten minutes previously; instead of tomatoes, use 2 cups of tomato juice which will be absorbed by the rice. Small eggplants, cut in half lengthwise (do not peel), can be added with the potatoes and tomatoes. The roasting time depends upon the size of your leg of lamb, but thirty to thirty-five minutes to the pound will suffice.

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951