Recipes

Easter lunch for all the family: The main course

Easter lunch for all the family: The main course

4TH MARCH 2016

If you’ve been tasked with preparing an Easter Sunday feast for all the family, you’re probably starting to feel the weight of expectation on your shoulders. Don’t worry. Britannia Living is here to help with a step-by-step guide to keep everyone happy, from grandparents to grandchildren.

From sticking with tradition to going a little more left-field, there is plenty you can do to create a memorable meal.

Of course, we have to start with the most important bit.

The lamb

Lamb is the traditional meat to use in your Easter Sunday lunch, and you won’t find us arguing with that. Spring is, of course, the best time to enjoy lamb, because it’s  right in season and packed full of flavour, so treat yourself and head to your local butcher for the best cuts. Leg or shoulder are the two most commonly used, so it’s up to you which way you want to go.

In addition, you’ll need:

  • A few sprigs of rosemary

  • 2-3 garlic cloves

  • 1l of lamb stock

  • 150ml of red wine

Here’s how to get perfect results:

  • Stud the rosemary and chopped garlic into the meat before cooking - this will give it even more flavour.

  • Cooking times will of course vary depending on the size of your lamb and how you want to cook it. A rare lamb is a bit too pink for some, so aim for medium and you should satisfy everyone.

  • To achieve this, first of all you need to seal the outside of the lamb in a hot frying pan before it goes in the oven.

  • Then, as a rough guide, you should roast the lamb at 190°C for around 25 minutes per 450g, plus a final 25 minutes to finish off, remembering to turn the meat halfway through cooking. If you’d like a more precise idea, try the BBC’s meat calculator.

  • Pour the stock and red wine into the roasting tin before cooking, to ensure a truly tender piece of lamb. You can also use this as the basis for your gravy, but more on that later.

  • Crucially, you must allow the lamb to rest for 10-30 minutes once it’s out of the oven. Cover it in foil and leave it somewhere warm, so that when it reaches the table you can slice it thinly and cleanly without it collapsing.

What else should you serve?

The beauty of any roast dinner is that once the meat is in the oven, you have plenty of free time to prepare some amazing accompaniments. Let’s have a look at what you could include:

Potatoes

This almost goes without saying. However, given the spring theme of the meal, the choice here is whether to go with roast potatoes or new potatoes - which would arguably be more seasonal.

You know your family best, so you’ll know whether or not an absence of roasties is going to result in a mutiny! If you want to please everyone, you can always make a little of both.

If you decide to go for new potatoes:

  • Boil for 10 minutes.

  • Serve coated in butter and freshly chopped parsley.

For roast potatoes

  • Parboil for around 10 minutes to ensure they’re soft and fluffy in the centre.

  • Drain them, put them back in the pan and give it a good shake. This will roughen the edges of the potatoes and ensure you get that lovely crispy coating.

  • Put them in a preheated roasting tin, ensure all sides of your potatoes are covered with oil and leave them to cook for around 40 minutes, turning them midway through. The exact timings will naturally depend on the size of your potatoes and how crispy you want them.

Gravy

While the lamb rests, you can make the gravy. It’s amazing how quickly you can prepare a beautiful, rich sauce to accompany your meal. Simply:

  • Add a chopped onion and a little flour to the cooking liquid.

  • Place it on the hob (there’s no need to transfer it to a new pan).

  • Stir it continuously until it thickens.

  • Not everyone one likes a lumpy gravy, so if you’re feeling fancy you can strain the finished product through a sieve before serving.

Vegetables

Spring is a fantastic season for vegetables, so you have plenty of options here. Your local greengrocer will be happy to recommend the best veg to go with your lamb, but we have a few suggestions of our own.

Asparagus will taste delicious and add a lovely visual element to the plate. While this can be roasted, your oven might be getting a little full by now. Instead:

  • Lose the dry, woody ends of the stalks.

  • Boil or steam them for around three minutes.

  • To avoid overcooking, either time things so you can serve your asparagus immediately, or have a pan of iced water handy.

If you do have some space left in your oven, we suggest making a lovely braised fennel accompaniment. All you need to do is:

  • Add butter to a roasting tin and pre-heat - your fennel can be roasted at the same temperature as your potatoes.

  • Cut the fennel bulbs in half and add them - chopped side down - to the pan.

  • Adding a sweeter liquid such as orange juice or vermouth will help balance the aniseed flavour of the fennel.

  • Cover with foil and roast for around 30 minutes on each side - bear in mind this will mean they need to go in before your potatoes.

Mint sauce

Just as roast beef needs horseradish and turkey needs cranberry sauce, no roast lamb is complete without a splash of mint sauce.

The good thing is it’s really simple to prepare and can be done in advance, so it won’t add to your list of things to monitor later in the day.

  • Mix 150ml of vinegar with 50g of sugar.

  • Add a generous helping of chopped fresh mint.

  • Set aside until lunchtime.

What makes the perfect Easter lunch?

Do you agree with our suggestions above? What would you add to create the perfect Easter Sunday spectacular?

Perhaps you’d even throw tradition out of the window entirely and come up with something totally different? We’d love to hear your ideas on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

And that’s not all. We’ve also put together some creative Easter dessert ideas that will really round the day off in style.



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