Celebrate Easter and the coming of spring with the perfect roast lamb, three different ways.
When it comes to Easter lunch, most people think of ham as the main event, but lamb is just as show-stopping. Since spring is the season for lamb, we say it’s high time you give this impressive roast a try this Easter.
Whether you choose a leg of lamb or shanks, roasting this tender meat is just as easy, if not easier, than roasting a chicken. Seriously, all you need to do is rub your roast with a mixture of fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil and pop it in the oven for an hour or so. Bonus points if you roast the meat on top of a bed of potatoes.
To help you truly master the art of roasting lamb, we reached out to Ireland's Blue Book who have access to some of the country's top chefs to task them with creating three tasty lamb dishes to serve for dinner this Easter.
Keep scrolling for Ireland's Blue Book's ultimate guide to cooking lamb this easter.
Hay-smoked Mourne Mountain lamb with wild garlic boxty, toasted oatmeal and Quiet Man 12-Year-Old Whiskey sauce
By Ardtara Country House, Co Derry
Nestled amongst traditional Victorian gardens, millponds and woodlands in the heart of Northern Ireland is Ardtara, an elegant 19th-century mansion. Home to one of Ireland’s finest restaurants, the culinary team use fruit and vegetables from the gardens at Ardtara and the finest local produce. The Michelin recommended restaurant services sumptuous afternoon teas, stunning Sunday lunch, exquisite dinners and a casual lounge menu.
For the lamb:
- 2 square-cut Mourne Mountain lamb rumps
- 100ml buttermilk
- 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 1 sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped
- 1 sprig of thyme, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon
For the wild garlic boxty:
- 225g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 225g mashed potato, mashed without butter or milk
- 225g grated raw potato, squeezed of excess liquid
- 350ml whole milk
- Bunch of wild garlic, chopped
For the mint gel:
- 1 bunch mint
- 100ml water
- Ultratex (instant thickening starch), to thicken
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
For the toasted oatmeal:
- 50g oatmeal
- 30g butter
- 1 rosemary sprig, chopped
For the “Quiet Man” whiskey sauce:
- 70ml “Quiet Man” whiskey
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 knob of butter
- Place the lamb rump in a sealable bag or in a covered dish, add 100ml of buttermilk, the roughly chopped herbs and cracked black pepper, and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).
- To make the boxty, mix all the ingredients together, then heat a little oil in a pan. Once hot, fry mixture for 2 minutes on each side. Season to taste.
- To make the mint gel, blitz the mint with water and strain. Add salt, red wine vinegar and then the Ultratex to thicken. Place in a squeezy bottle.
- In a hot pan, brown the lamb rumps and then place in a preheated oven at 180C. After 10 minutes, take out of the oven and set to rest. When the lamb has rested, add to a tin/box with the hay and smoke for 1 minute
- In the same pan that the lamb rumps were cooked in, keep on the heat and add the “Quiet Man” whiskey and honey, then reduce by half. Finish with butter and strain.
- For the oatmeal, melt butter in a pan, then add the oatmeal and toast in the pan for 2 minutes until golden. Finish with the rosemary.
- Finish the dish with some purple broccoli – cook in a pan for a couple of minutes until tender.
CHEF'S TOP TIP: Any leftover Lamb can be transformed into a curry the next day which is equally delicious.
Roasted Irish leg of lamb
by Dunbrody House, Co Wexford
Indulgence is the order of the day at Dunbrody Country House with a gourmet restaurant, chic seafood bar and leisurely breakfasts. Located on 300 acres of parkland on the idyllic Hook Peninsula of Ireland’s south coast, Dunbrody is the perfect year-round getaway to the country. For the culinary inquisitive, there’s the temptation of Kevin Dundon’s cookery school with a choice of one, two or five-day courses.
Serves 6 - 8
- 1 Irish lamb leg (approx. 2kg /4lb 8oz)
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 large onions, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 25g flour
- ½ tsp tomato purée
- 100ml red wine
- 300ml good quality meat stock
- Salt and pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
- On a large roasting tray arrange large chunks of the carrots, garlic and onion to form a trivet to raise the meat off the roasting tray.
- Lay the leg of lamb on top of the vegetables. Using a sharp knife make a number of incisions to the fat of the lamb and stick sprigs of the rosemary in the fat.
- Season lightly with a little salt and pepper then drizzle with a little oil and roast in the oven for 1-1½ hours (15 minutes per 1lb/450g for rare and 20 minutes for medium), turning over halfway through.
- Allow the meat to rest for at least 15 - 20 minutes before carving, this allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and therefore it will be far more tender and juicier to eat.
- While the leg is resting, prepare the sauce. Drain off the majority of the fat off the tray and put the tray on the stovetop. Sprinkle in the flour and add tomato purée and stir with a whisk until well coloured. Gradually pour in the red wine and stock and continue to whisk until the mixture comes to the boil. Sieve into a clean saucepan to remove any impurities. Add the chopped rosemary and simmer for 4-5 minutes until reduced and thickened nicely.
- Adjust the seasoning and pour into a sauceboat to accompany the lamb.
- Serve and enjoy with seasonal vegetables.
CHEF'S TOP TIP: You can replace the garlic with wild garlic currently is in season.
Roast Easter lamb and vegetables
By Glenlo Abbey, Co Galway
Glenlo Abbey Hotel is a five-star hotel in County Galway that dates back to 1740. Nestled peacefully on a stunning 138-acre resort on the edge of Ireland’s largest lake, Lough Corrib, the hotel offers wonderful, scenic views and is a haven for walkers looking to explore the rugged landscapes of Connemara.
Serves 6 - 8
- 1 leg of lamb (2½ kg), well-trimmed
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1kg carrots
- 4 red onions
- 125ml water
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) Gas Mark 7.
- Break the garlic bulb up into cloves and peel three, leaving the rest whole.
- Roughly chop the peeled garlic and sprig of rosemary into a bowl, grate in the lemon zest and drizzle in some olive oil, mix well all the ingredients.
- Season the lamb with sea salt and black pepper, then rub with the marinade and rub all over the meat. Place on the roughly chopped onions and the rosemary stem in a tray. Add the water to the tray.
- Put in the oven and roast for 15 minutes on high heat, then reduce the temperature to 180°C (350°F) Gas Mark 4 and continue to roast for another 55 minutes. The lamb will be cooked medium at this stage. Keep an eye on the water level, if necessary, add a little more.
- Peel and halve the potatoes. Parboil the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and let them steam dry. Carefully toss the potatoes in the colander to rough up the edges.
- Peel and parboil the carrots for 10 minutes, then reserve.
- While your carrot and potatoes are cooking, peel and quarter the red onions
- Add the remaining rosemary sprig, the thyme and whole garlic cloves to the potatoes and vegetables, season, then drizzle with olive oil. Tip the lot into a tray and place in the oven for 50 minutes with the lamb.
- When the lamb is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes or so. You can cover it with foil to keep it warm. Carve and serve with the roast potatoes and vegetables.
- Discard the onion from the roasting tin. Then add some red wine to the pan juices. Boil up and reduce to a nice gravy. This will take 4-5 minutes.
CHEF'S TOP TIP: Get your vegetables and potatoes done the day before if you wish they will take all the flavours from the herbs and garlic.
Ireland's Blue Book is a collection of Irish Country House Hotels, Manor Houses, Castles and
Restaurants. Located throughout the island of Ireland these charming and stylish hideaways are the perfect choice for your romantic escape or weekend retreat. Also included in the collection are five of Ireland’s finest Michelin star restaurants. See irelands-blue-book.ie for more.