In most households lamb isn't an every-night type of protein. But Easter only comes around once a year, and there are few things more impressive, succulent, or delicious than a big piece of lamb at the center of your table. We've rounded up our 9 favorite lamb recipes for the special occasion, and once you've picked one of them, you can focus on deciding which sides and desserts to make to round out the meal.
Crown Roast of Lamb With Couscous Stuffing and Pistachio-Mint Sauce
Any well-cooked lamb dish will leave an impression on the guests at your table. But very few will wow and delight like this crown roast of lamb, balanced on a bed of fluffy couscous and finished with a pistachio-mint sauce. We reverse sear the meat, cooking it first at a low temperature before bumping up the heat to give the lamb its beautiful crust.
Sous Vide Rack of Lamb
A rack of lamb is less fussy than a crown roast, and it's a great pick for celebratory occasions any time of year. It's still on the expensive side, so you'll want to be sure to prepare it exactly the way you want it. If you have a sous vide set up, then it's as easy as seasoning the rack and sealing it in a bag. You don't need a sous vide device to get the rack beautifully medium-rare from edge to edge—you can use a beer cooler if you don't have an immersion circulator—but whichever way you choose to go, when the rack is fully cooked, you'll sear it over very high heat in a pan or on the grill.
Tender Braised Lamb Shanks With Bitter Herb Salad
Combining the low-and-slow style of cooking that we usually associate with winter and the bright, fresh, and wild flavors of spring, this recipe is a lovely way to transition between the seasons. Tough lamb shanks turn meltingly tender when braised in a mix of white wine and chicken stock. The crunch of a quick salad made of bitter endive and celery is a great way to offset the meat's richness and tenderness.
Grilled Berbere-Spiced Lamb Chops With Cucumber-Lentil Salad
These lamb chops are coated with a hot Ethiopian spice blend called berbere, which is loaded with chili powder, fenugreek, cardamom, and clove, among other ingredients. Soothe your palate between bites with a salad of lentils and refreshing cucumber.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
Roasted Spiced Lamb Ribs With Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
If you've never had lamb ribs, you're missing out—they're gamy, fatty, and incredibly flavorful. They're also simple to cook, taking well to basic slow-roasting, and they're more capable than pork ribs of standing up to bold flavors. Here, we season them with a dry rub containing smoked paprika, fennel seed, chili flakes, and cumin, and serve them with a robust pan sauce flavored with whole grain mustard.
Slow-Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb With Garlic, Rosemary, and Lemon
Leg of lamb makes for a wonderful Easter roast, and we especially like boneless leg of lamb—it's easy to season inside and out and cooks more evenly than a bone-in leg, resulting in a crisp, nicely browned crust giving way to pink meat that's juicy through and through. In this recipe, we flavor boneless leg with a classic mixture of garlic, shallots, rosemary, and lemon zest, sautéed to soften the raw bite of the alliums.
Sous Vide Leg of Lamb
A butterflied leg of lamb is not only ideal for being stuffed with flavorful ingredients and rolled into a roast; it's also a great cut for cooking sous vide. We have two options for you. One leg of lamb gets stuffed with a paste made from briny black olives, garlic, and parsley. If you aren't a fan of olives—we see you—or just want another variation, try your hand at this sous vide leg of lamb with mint, cumin, and black mustard.
Sichuan Roast Leg of Lamb With Celery-Mint Salad
This dish may not sound like your grandmother's Easter lamb—and, most likely, it isn't—but lamb is commonly featured in Sichuan cooking, so it makes sense to pair it with spicy-tingly Sichuan flavors. We rub this lamb leg with ground Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, dried red chilies, fennel seed, and star anise before cooking it with our trusty reverse-sear method. A cooling salad of fresh celery, cucumber, radishes, carrots, mint, and cilantro will feel like a welcome sign of spring as it soothes the fire in your mouth.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
Braised Lamb Shoulder With Dried Chilies and Dates
Again, this is probably not what your family is used to eating for Easter dinner, but that doesn't make it any less delicious. This braise also happens to be super simple: You make a super flavorful purée out of smoky morita chilies, fruity guajillo chilies, sharp tomatillos, sweet and sticky dates, and toasted coriander and cumin seeds, and then you just pour that purée over a lamb shoulder you've placed in a Dutch oven. After that, you just let it sit in a warm oven until the meat is tender and giving, and then set out some warm tortillas when you're ready to serve.