We did a show for the boys recently, the idea being for the male of the species to somehow convince the female to cook for him. Now if that works…
The Greek wanted something Greek of course, so I suggested a nice roasted leg of lamb with Tzatziki, so we’ll cover that here.
If you’ve never had Tzatziki sauce before, you’ve got a real treat in store. Tzatziki is, hands down, one of the finest uses for cucumber. In Greek cooking it’s often served with lamb as we suggest, but I’m here to tell y’all that Tzatziki is excellent on eggs, fantastic on flat bread, pleasant on poultry, and beautiful on burgers; in other words, like hot sauce, it’s good on durn near everything!
Whip up a batch and enjoy!
Classic Tzatziki Sauce
1 8 oz container of Greek Yogurt, (You can use regular too)
1 med cucumber
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon Dill, (You can also use mint)
2 cloves Garlic
Salt to taste
Line a colander or strainer with paper towel and drain your yogurt for around 30 minutes, (Critical step to avoid runny Tzatziki, and even more so if you’re not using Greek yoghurt).
Peel, seed and grate the cucumber.
Juice the lemon and reserve.
Do a fine chiffenade on the dill or mint.
Peel and mince the garlic.
Combine everything in a non-reactive bowl and mix well by hand, (Blending or processing makes your yogurt break down).
Refrigerate covered for 2 to 3 hours.
Real Deal Greek Roast Leg of Lamb
Disclaimer; I’m Scots, Welsh, and Dutch, and M carries German and Norse blood. We’ll lay claim to this being a genuine interpretation of a classic by way of the truly born and raised Greek cooks who we kind enough to share their passion.
A fair number of folks in this country don’t care for lamb because they find it gamey. It can be, but we’re here to say that the rest of the meat eating world can’t be all wrong. Great lamb comes from choosing good meat, to proper preparation and cooking, and that’s what we’ll relate here.
My Greek pals will tell you that lamb is always cooked to well done, a key consideration in avoiding funky, off-putting flavors.
Be sure to trim the lions share of the fat prior to roasting as well. This recipe will provide a fine feast for 6 to 8.
5 lbs bone-in leg of lamb
16 – 24 small new potatoes, (Variety of your choice, or mix and match)
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 cloves garlic
Zest of two lemons, grated
2 tablespoons Oregano
2 tablespoons Rosemary
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
1 cup dry Red Wine
3/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
salt and Pepper to taste
Wash the lamb thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel
Peel and dice 8 cloves of the garlic and toss them into a non-reactive bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.
Add 4 teaspoons each of oregano and rosemary, a 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the wine, and the lemon zest and juice.
Place lamb in the bowl, rubbing it in and turning to coat well on all sides; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Crush remaining cloves of garlic and combine with the mustard and the rest of the oregano and rosemary.
Remove lamb from marinade and reserve all the marinade.
With the tip of a paring knife, poke a bunch of holes into the lamb on all surfaces.
Hand rub the garlic-herb-mustard mixture thoroughly over the lamb, pressing into incisions as much as you can.
Gently coat the lamb with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the lamb on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
Toss potatoes in the reserved marinade from the lamb with 2 additional tablespoons of olive oil added; coat thoroughly. Pour everything into the roasting pan, all around the lamb.
Roast uncovered for 90 minutes, then turn the lamb so that it develops a nice crust on both sides. Toss the potatoes to recoat them with the marinade as well. Roast for another 45 minutes, (total roasting time – 2 hours and 15 minutes).
And as our Greek pals insist, serve nice and hot, with plenty of fresh, crusty bread, a big ol’ salad of onions, peppers, tomatoes and olives in vinaigrette, and plenty of red wine.
εύγευστος! (Delicious!), right Greek?