December 7, 2019
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When Families Sit Down Together

Published Apr 11, 2019 • Last Updated 11:23 am, April 09, 2019

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Passover begins on Friday, April 19 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 27. Easter is Sunday, April 21.

And both holidays mean that many families will sit down together for dinner.

Brisket is traditional for many passover celebrations. Ham is ubiquitous at Easter celebrations. Lamb might be a good choice for some families as well. My favorite recipe for lamb is the one here. Sometimes I buy boneless lamb, but the recipe is pretty much the same. Do use a meat thermometer and remember the internal temperature of the roast should be 120 to 125 degrees for medium-rare, or 130 to 135 for medium.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at

Gigot d/Agneau a l’Ail (Leg of Lamb with Garlic)

From Charles Virion’s French Country Cookbook (Hawthorn, New York, 1972)


Yield: Serves 6 to 8


1 5- to 7-pound leg of lamb

8 cloves of garlic cut lengthwise into slivers

Salt and freshly ground coarse black pepper

Vegetable oil

3 cups brown sauce or canned beef consommé

(look for something low in sodium. I use

Better Than Boullion.)

2 cups cream sherry (does not have to be

Harvey’s Bristol, but it should be cream sherry)

8 small new potatoes

4 tablespoons sweet butter


1. Take leg of lamb out of refrigerator 3 to 5 hours before cooking time. Meat must always be at room temperature before roasting or broiling.

2. Insert pieces of garlic all around the leg by making tiny incisions and pushing the garlic underneath. Season meat with salt and pepper. Pour on a little vegetable oil and let meat marinate until ready to roast.

3. Meanwhile, simmer together stock or consommé and the cream sherry until liquid is reduced by half. This will be your basting sauce and gravy base.

4. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and roast in a preheated, 450-degree oven with the door ajar. Turn frequently and baste with vegetable oil and fats accumulated during roasting. When the outside is brown and crisp, approximately 45 minutes later, take the meat out of the oven and place it in another roasting pan. Use the pan with the accumulated lamb fat to roast potatoes (separately from the lamb) for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

5. Put butter on the meat and let it stand until 1 hour before you are ready to eat.

6. Reduce oven temp to 300 degrees. The lamb should roast slowly now so that it will remain rare and juicy.

7. Place lamb in oven and turn it every 10 minutes, basting with the stock-sherry sauce. Compute the approximately roasting time by figuring 20 minutes per pound, subtracting the 45 minutes for the first roasting.

8. When cooked, take the meat out of the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes. This helps keep the meat juices inside. Then slice the meat and arrange on a hot platter.

9. You should have approximately 2 cups of gravy left. Pour some of it, piping hot, on top of the roast. The rest should be served in a sauceboat. Surround the meat with vegetables (Virion suggests lima beans) and potatoes that have been roasted in the lamb fat from the first roasting. Serve immediately.

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