Easter Lamb
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Easter Lamb

 

Hosanna

What an Easter season.  Yesterday as I walked during my allowable hour outside, I saw signs hung at windows with the word Hosanna and the drawing of a frond. I passed a church and the song from a choir wafted out around the door, priests singing. It was so beautiful I stopped to listen, remembering Palm Sunday.  I’d forgotten it was Palm Sunday.  During the time of confinement, though, one day tends to run into another.

I returned home and opened my email to several requests for lamb recipes, another reminder that it is Easter season.  This brings up memories of going to a lamb farm at the foot of Mont Saint Michel, many years ago when I was writing FRENCH FARMHOUSE COOKBOOK.  Farmer M. Fautrel and I walked the marsh, and I was surprised at the tough tufts that made the walk a balancing act at times. I’d imagined sylvan grass, tender to the touch.  Some was. “And this is what they will eat,” said M. Fautrel, bending down to wrench a handful from the ground.  “That over there? It is too tough for them.  They won’t touch it.”

Epicurean lambs, who knew?  No wonder the meat of lamb from the “pre sale,” or salt marsh, is so cloudlike, tender yet with substance, so delicate of flavor it makes you stop, listen, think as you chew.  As though it had a sound.

I love mind-travel, and what a glorious memory of that morning we spent on the marsh, examining the rivulets, touching the grass, talking lambs and history, edible plants and spirituality.  M. Fautrel grew up here, right on the marsh with the lambs in his father’s footsteps.  “I cannot imagine a day without being on the marsh,” he said.

M. Fautrel’s lambs, which graze around the clock in summer and in the early mornings in winter, are so highly valued they are protected by an Appellation d’Origine, a standard that limits how many can be raised and where, the amount of land each lamb must have for grazing, the quality standard of the barns they go to, and their size. Several hundred farms are entitled to produce these lambs, and they are required to let them out on the marsh every single day of the their less than twelve-month lives.

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Much of their meat goes to Paris and its volley of restaurants and high-end butchers.  It stays local, too, and at the end of my day with M. Fautrel, and a fabulous leg of lamb prepared for lunch by his mother, which we ate with Mont Saint Michel as our backdrop, I bought chops to bring home.  That was what was left late in the afternoon, but it suited me fine.  I’m giving you the recipe I used to prepare it.  But I’m also giving you Madame Fautrel’s recipe for Gigot d’Agneau a la Moutarde, Leg of Lamb with Mustard. Both are perfect Easter recipes.

I wish you all a Happy Easter.  If Easter egg hunts are your tradition and you. have children in your home but no garden, do not despair!  Our Easters in Normandy were regularly punctuated by pouring rain and I can tell you that an Easter egg hunt in the house is almost more fun than one in the garden!

Bon Appétit!

Print Recipe
LEG OF LAMB WITH HERBS AND MUSTARD - GIGOT D’AGNEAU AUX AROMATES ET A LA MOUTARDE
NOTE: that letting the lamb sit at room temperature with the garlic and herbs slowly adding their flavor to the meat is essential to this dish. All meat should be at room temperature before being cooked so that it cooks evenly.
LEG OF LAMB WITH HERBS AND MUSTARD - GIGOT D’AGNEAU AUX AROMATES ET A LA MOUTARDE
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword mustard
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • One 3-1/2 pound; 1.750kg leg of lamb
  • 1 large clove garlic green germ removed if necssary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf from the Laurus nobilis or one dried, imported bay leaf
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup;80ml Dijon-style mustard
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs – optional
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword mustard
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • One 3-1/2 pound; 1.750kg leg of lamb
  • 1 large clove garlic green germ removed if necssary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf from the Laurus nobilis or one dried, imported bay leaf
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup;80ml Dijon-style mustard
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs – optional
LEG OF LAMB WITH HERBS AND MUSTARD - GIGOT D’AGNEAU AUX AROMATES ET A LA MOUTARDE
Instructions
  1. At least 2 hours before you plan to roast the leg of lamb, mince the garlic, thyme and bay leaf together. Make 10 slits in the lamb that are about ½-inch (1.5cm) deep and ½-inch (1.5cm) wide, and evenly divide the minced herbs among the slits, pushing them right down into the meat. Lightly season the lamb with salt and pepper, then slather it all over with the mustard. Cover and macerate at room temperature for two hours, or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
  3. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before you plan to roast it, so that the meat can come to room temperature.
  4. Lay 3 of the rosemary sprigs in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the leg of lamb Set the lamb in the pan, and lay the remaining rosemary sprigs over the leg of lamb, and roast it in the center of the oven until the meat is golden on the outside, and the interior temperature registers about 137 F; about 58 C, for 45 to 50 minutes (this gives a leg of lamb that offers something for everyone, from rosy to rare). Remove the lamb from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes before carving it. Reserve the roasting pan.
  5. Just before carving the leg of lamb, remove and discard the rosemary sprigs from it, and from the pan it roasted in. Place the pan it roasted in over low heat, add 1 cup (250ml) of water, and heat the water to boiling point, stirring and scraping up the caramelized juice from the bottom of the pan, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about one-third. Taste for seasoning - if the juices don’t have quite enough flavor, continue reducing until their flavor concentrates to your taste, then rectify the seasoning. Strain the sauce and either pour over the leg of lamb once it is carved, or serve it alongside.
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Print Recipe
LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY AND ORANGE SYRUP - COTES D’AGNEAU AU ROMARIN ET SIROP D’ORANGE
This is a perfect, and perfectly simple way to prepare succulent lamb. The technique is more Italian, the result simply divineཀ The results here give rosy lamb chops - if you prefer yours cooked more, simply increase the cooking time.
LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY AND ORANGE SYRUP - COTES D’AGNEAU AU ROMARIN ET SIROP D’ORANGE
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword orange juice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup; 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 lamb chops, about 4 oz. (120g) each at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon heapingfresh rosemary leaves
  • Fleur de sel
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut in four pieces and chilled
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword orange juice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup; 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 lamb chops, about 4 oz. (120g) each at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon heapingfresh rosemary leaves
  • Fleur de sel
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut in four pieces and chilled
LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY AND ORANGE SYRUP - COTES D’AGNEAU AU ROMARIN ET SIROP D’ORANGE
Instructions
  1. Place the orange juice in a medium, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Bring to a lively simmer and reduce until the juice is thickened to a syrup, and has reduced by about two-thirds, which will take about 10 minutes. Check the juice frequently to be sure it isn=t reducing too much. When the juice has reduced, remove it from the heat, and reserve
  2. Place the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the lamb chops and sear them on each side, for 1 to 2 minutes per side, seasoning as you do with salt and pepper.
  3. Coarsely chop the rosemary.
  4. When the chops are golden, add the rosemary to the pan, stir and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. While the chops finish cooking, return the orange syrup to a gentle boil over medium heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, swirling the pan as you whisk, until the sauce is velvety.
  6. To serve, place one chop on each of four warmed dinner plates, and surround with a drizzle of orange syrup. Drizzle each chop with some syrup as well, season with fleur de sel and serve.
Share this Recipe

Print Recipe
LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY AND ORANGE SYRUP - COTES D’AGNEAU AU ROMARIN ET SIROP D’ORANGE
This is a perfect, and perfectly simple way to prepare succulent lamb. The technique is more Italian, the result simply divineཀ The results here give rosy lamb chops - if you prefer yours cooked more, simply increase the cooking time.
LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY AND ORANGE SYRUP - COTES D’AGNEAU AU ROMARIN ET SIROP D’ORANGE
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword orange juice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup; 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 lamb chops, about 4 oz. (120g) each at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon heapingfresh rosemary leaves
  • Fleur de sel
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut in four pieces and chilled
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword orange juice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup; 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 lamb chops, about 4 oz. (120g) each at room temperature
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon heapingfresh rosemary leaves
  • Fleur de sel
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut in four pieces and chilled
LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY AND ORANGE SYRUP - COTES D’AGNEAU AU ROMARIN ET SIROP D’ORANGE
Instructions
  1. Place the orange juice in a medium, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Bring to a lively simmer and reduce until the juice is thickened to a syrup, and has reduced by about two-thirds, which will take about 10 minutes. Check the juice frequently to be sure it isn=t reducing too much. When the juice has reduced, remove it from the heat, and reserve
  2. Place the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the lamb chops and sear them on each side, for 1 to 2 minutes per side, seasoning as you do with salt and pepper.
  3. Coarsely chop the rosemary.
  4. When the chops are golden, add the rosemary to the pan, stir and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. While the chops finish cooking, return the orange syrup to a gentle boil over medium heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, swirling the pan as you whisk, until the sauce is velvety.
  6. To serve, place one chop on each of four warmed dinner plates, and surround with a drizzle of orange syrup. Drizzle each chop with some syrup as well, season with fleur de sel and serve.
Share this Recipe

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Barbra Love

    I just ordered some lamb chops and I appreciate this lovely recipe. I wonder if I had this with you in Louviers? Thank you for the description of the Italian deli, too. I was transported! How nice that you speak Italian. I never knew. XO

    1. Susan

      Barbra, I don’t think you did have this in class…but the orange sauce goes with duck and you may have had it with that. IT also goes by itself, slurped up with a spoon! My Italian is rusty, but I needed it for Italian Farmhouse and I love the language. It was fun speaking it this morning.

      1. Eleanor Matthews

        Susan, I knew the duck with orange sauce sounded familiar…Paris class, May 16, 2008 and November 18, 2010. But, I think I will try the lamb chop recipe soon, Stay well.

        1. Susan

          Eleanor – yes, you’re right!! And you keep excellent records (of course!). Try it with the lamb – you’ll love it. And you’ll notice a slight difference in this version…! YOU keep well. Great to hear from you.

  2. Alyce Morgan

    Thanks so much, Susan, for sharing part of your day during this hard time. Typically for Easter I do a big tied boneless leg of lamb in the oven with lots of garlic, tomatoes, wine, onions, rosemary, and also roast the biggest ham I can find. No gathering of family and friends this year, but we have some pretty chops squirreled away in the freezer for two of us. (Our neighbors may drop by in the garage for a carrot cake cupcake and Champagne!) Hadn’t decided what I’d do with our chops, but love the idea here. I’ve ordered oranges now from the store and — God willing and the creek don’t rise — I might get them Friday! I linked my own blog to yours today so that my readers can see your luscious lamb recipes. So thanks again and Joyeuses Pâques!

    1. Susan

      Alyce, love it: God willing and the creek don’t rise! I haven’t heard that forever. Anyway, got my fingers crossed that you get your oranges in time. You’ll love the recipe, and carrot cake in the garage sounds fun!

  3. Cathy

    I am making lamb for Easter and this recipe is perfect!

    1. Susan

      Which one will you make, Cathy? Chops or leg?

  4. BettySue Ballard

    Bonjour Susan and Coco!
    Thank you for the Easter Lamb recipes!
    I love sharing your recipes – revisiting your home with Coco!
    I hope/dream I shall visit Paris again. I must carry on my foot travels that I revisit on my walks here.
    Will you please share the composers you enjoyed in the Italian Deli?
    Thank You, always for gifts of Joy and inspiration.
    BettySue

    1. Susan

      Betty!!! It’s in the note I just sent out. Giovanni Allevi/Ludovico Einaudi

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