Roasted lamb in wine sauce, an Easter favorite.
Once Easter is approaching, the spring lambs go to slaughter. It’s a tradition. It’s one of the only times of the year when in most of the country you can actually find lamb meat.
Larger cities that have large supermarkets do stock it sometimes, but for the rest of the population, lamb is for Easter.
One more reason why lamb meat isn’t the most popular meat with Romanians, and a lot of them, should they taste an “older” piece of lamb meat, would not like it, “because it tastes like mutton”.
Here’s a traditional roasted lamb recipe, the one that my father has made year on year, for Easter only. Although I make it these days quite often.
And now (update) also a quick video recipe:
- 1 or 2 spring lamb shoulders or legs
- 2 thick slices smoked lardo (optional)
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 1 small celeriac
- 3-4 bay leaves
- salt&pepper, thyme
- 700ml white wine
- 100ml oil
- wet garlic (if available)
This recipe has a 12 hours additional time to marinade the meat. You can get good results even if you don’t but it’s better this way.
Put the lamb leg, or shoulder in a large non-metallic container. Add the vegetables, cut into large pieces, bay leaves, some salt and pepper, the white wine and 2 cups of water. Mix well and leave to stand overnight, or for 12 hours.
Heat the oven to 220C. Take the meat out and pat dry with kitchen paper. Using a small thin bladed knife make small incisions in the meat and stuff with cloves of garlic, alternating with pieces of smoked lardo. Bacon can be used instead.
Now make a paste, from salt, pepper and dried thyme mixed with a spoon or two of oil. Rub this paste all over the meat to coat well.
On the bottom of the oven tray place the vegetables and the liquid from the marinade. Place the meat over. Coat with a thin layer with the rest of the oil.
Place in the oven. Roast initially for about 20 minutes at high temperature to form a nice crust over the top of the meat. Cover with kitchen foil and reduce the temperature to 160C.
Roast for a further 90 minutes to 2 hours, checking every 45 minutes if the meat is tender and has enough juices in the pan. Finally uncover and roast again for 20 minutes at high temperature (220C) to get the colour and crust back.
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.