Easy Easter Menu

Posted by on March 13, 2013

Any time I want to make something easy and hands-off, I think of my slow cooker. For an easy Easter main dish, I adapted a classic French slow-roasted leg of lamb recipe for the slow cooker, while the two side dishes roast side by side in the oven. Easily served on one platter or on a buffet, this meal is full of spring flavor and lets you enjoy the day!


Hands-Off Lamb Roast

Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 5 to 6 hrs.
Serves: 4

(Note: The roast may be bone-in or boneless. Be sure it will fit in your slow cooker; you may need the butcher to remove the shank portion.)

4 to 5 lb. leg of lamb
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 c. white wine
1 c. water
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 small bunch fresh thyme (about 7 or 8 sprigs)
1 small bunch fresh rosemary (about 7 sprigs)
2 cloves garlic. minced
4 bay leaves

Rub the roast generously with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper, gently massaging the seasonings into the meat. Heat a large, nonstick Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown all sides of the roast well, to render off excess fat.

Place the onion quarters in the bottom of a slow cooker (4 qt. or larger). Place the roast on top.

Deglaze the Dutch over by pouring about a cup of the wine into the pan (make sure the heat is off!). Scrape up any brown bits and pour the wine and drippings around the roast.

Add the remaining wine and water to the slow cooker, pouring it around the roast. Add the garlic and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Bundle the fresh herbs together with kitchen twine and snuggle it down next to the roast. Cook on high 5 to 6 hours, basting occasionally.

When the roast is fully cooked, remove it to a platter and cover with foil. Strain the liquid into a saucepan and bring to boil over medium high heat, then lower to a simmer and allow the sauce to reduce, about 15 minutes. If a thicker sauce is desired, make a slurry by removing a ladle of liquid to a small bowl and whisk in 1 T. of cornstarch. Return to the pan and whisk until the mixture thickens.

Serve the roast with the sauce and/or a nice fruit chutney.


Roasted Potatoes

1 ½ pounds new red potatoes (or red creamer potatoes)
2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and remove any spots or eyes and cut in half (or quarters if necessary for a roughly uniform size). Place the potatoes in a medium mixing bowl, add the garlic and lemon juice. Drizzle well with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss well. Pour the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Roast in oven, 25 to 40 minutes until fork tender and brown. Stir/turn the potatoes every 10 minutes to ensure browning on all sides.

Serves 4.


Roasted Spring Asparagus

Pencil-thin asparagus roast right next to the potatoes and take only minute to prepare.

1 bunch asparagus
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Rinse and trim the asparagus; pat dry. (To trim the asparagus, hold each end of a spear and bend until it snaps at the naturally perfect spot.) Place the asparagus in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil (enough to coat) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake in a 400 degree about 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway during the cooking time to cook the asparagus evenly. Serves 4.