Celebrate with spring lamb

There is no better way to celebrate Easter than with spring lamb! Bord Bia has come up with some great new recipes which combine both traditional and far away flavours to deliver versatile and mouthwatering dishes.

Butterflied leg of lamb with summer salad

This butterflied leg of lamb is the perfect choice for the barbecue but also works wonderfully in the oven. It would also be nice served with a pile of warmed pitta breads or flour tortillas in the centre of the table so everyone can help themselves.

Serves 10. Time: 50 minutes.

1 leg of lamb, boned, opened out flat, and trimmed, roughly 4-5cm thick

4 tablesp extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon

2 fresh rosemary stalks, leaves stripped

3 large garlic cloves, cut into slivers

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cubed

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

6 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

50g wild rocket leaves

Small handful fresh mint leaves

Place the lamb in a large non-metallic dish and drizzle over half the olive oil, then pare the lemon rind on top. Scatter over the rosemary and garlic slivers. Season generously and turn over a couple of times until the marinade ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for two hours to allow the flavours to combine, or overnight in the fridge is even better.

Light a barbecue or preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 220ºC (450ºF ). If the lamb has been chilled overnight, bring it back to room temperature. If cooking it in the oven place it, skin-side up, on a rack in a large roasting tin and season with salt. Roast the lamb for 35 minutes for medium rare. If you don’t like your lamb too pink cook on for another 10 minutes. Alternatively barbecue the lamb for about 40 minutes for medium rare, turning occasionally.

To make the salad, place the cucumber, red onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Fold in the rocket and tear in the mint leaves. Season to taste and then dress with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

When the lamb is cooked, transfer to a warm dish, then leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Carve into slices and arrange on plates with the summer salad and some boiled new potatoes to serve.

Moroccan style braised lamb shanks

For a more fragrant and pungent dish, the lamb can be covered in clingfilm and marinated in the fridge for up to 24 hours to allow the spices to penetrate the meat. The accompanying couscous can be jazzed up with pistachio nuts, dried fruits such as sultanas and raisins, and a little chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Serves four. Time: 2.5 hours.

1 tablesp paprika

1 teasp each ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

4 lamb shanks, well trimmed

2 tablesp olive oil

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2.5cm piece peeled fresh root ginger, chopped

450ml chicken or lamb stock

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 tablesp clear honey

Squeeze of lemon juice

Serve with a bowl of couscous

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, 160ºC (325ºF ). Heat a large frying pan. Mix together the paprika, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and one teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl. Add the lamb shanks and using your hands rub in the spices. Add a little of the olive oil to the heated pan and quickly brown off two of the spiced lamb shanks. Transfer to a casserole dish with a lid and repeat with the remaining lamb shanks.

Meanwhile place the onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or mini blender and pulse until finely minced. Add another tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan, then add the onion mixture and sauté for 3-4 minutes until well softened and coloured from the spices left in the bottom of the frying pan.

Pour a little of the stock into the pan, stirring to combine, and then tip over the lamb shanks. Add the remaining stock with the tomatoes and honey, stirring gently until evenly combined. Cover with the lid and cook for 2-2.5 hours until the lamb shanks are meltingly tender and the meat is ready to fall off the bone. Season to taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Arrange the lamb shanks in wide-rimmed bowls with the couscous to serve.

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