Greek Easter Lamb

Santorini, Greece

 Who doesn’t LOVE  Greece? 

The food, music, beautiful islands, beaches, tropical weather, the people and their fabulous history, along with the laid back “lifestyle” ultimately shouts “Mediterranean” as loud and as defining as possible!

Greece is a perfect place where one can derive a tremendous amount of knowledge if one spends even a short time focusing on the immense history and food culture of this very special Mediterranean country. 
 

 

I have been to Greece several times. Once on my own and several times while working on cruise lines. I even worked for a Greek Cruise Line “Royal Cruise Line”  in the mid-nineties.

The company was based out of the port of Miami, Florida and was eventually bought out by Norwegian Cruise Line.  The ship I was on was the Crown Odyssey.  The ship was staffed over 50% with Greeks, so needless to say the 6 months I spent on board, I got a good dose of Greeks and the love for life that they posess especially when it comes to eating, drinking and being merry!  Although we never made it to Greece, we transgressed the Miami-Panama Canal -Los Angeles route, stopping at various ports of call in  Central America and Mexico along the way.

Piraeus, Greece. Port of Athens.

In 2009, I was in Piraeus, Greece on Oceania Cruise Line.  Piraeus is the largest port in Greece and is the port for the city of  Athens, the capital of Greece.

Piraeus is one of the leading ports in the Mediterranean and a center for the merchant marine industry and sea transportation, as well as the gateway to Athens.

From this port, I got “INSPIRED” to pick up my pen and start writing again, something that I had put down and shied  away from because of a loss of inspiration and focus.

 I had a tremendous amount of written material already done, written over many years, but was frozen as to how to bring it all together. This port, the port of Piraeus of all places, out of the clear blue sent a lightning bolt of inspiration my way. The short walk I took through the city got the creative juices flowing.

The people, the noise, the smells, the heat of the sun, the bustling traffic, being a short distance from Athens, got me to realize how special this all was and how fortunate I was to be there. I needed to get it all down on paper, and get it down QUICK!

Tired as I was from the regiment of a 7 day a week chef job at sea, I listened to the feelings I was receiving and stopped everything. I put the pen back in my hand and wrote a very uplifting and inspiring chapter for my book that is now being combed over via editing and will hopefully get out there soon.

The point I’m making here is the Inspirational Rebirth that took place in a quiet, self kept hobby of mine, writing! This port along with the extensive travel in Greece on this tour, put some much-needed “ZING” back into my desire to complete a book and get refocused in a very positive way. I had a message and something to say, and people would benefit from it, so I better get back to “scratching” and that is exactly what I did, from this port a few minutes walk from this picture.

The “KEY” here is to be tuned in and aware when inspiration hits us, not to be too busy, tired or preoccupied with other thoughts and disregard the inspiration that may be knocking on your door!

Get EXCITED people, you never know where or when inspiration is going to strike you and hit you hard in a “rebirth kind of way”! Making you excited and feeling fresh about attacking those goals again and making it happen, being re-energized with a new-found focus and good feelings about making your DREAMS come true!

So, what better time to talk about rebirth, than Easter time. This is a time of the year that marks all kinds of rebirths. The end of winter and the start of spring and the beginning of all new things in nature. What a great time to tap into this energy and use its power in our own livesEaster is a Christian holiday, but the subliminal message of rebirth behind it is for all!

Easter is the highest of “Holy Days” for the  Greek Orthodox church and is a time-honored celebration that is centered around a feast, and the feast always consists of lamb, the “Sacrificial Lamb” that allows for the “rebirth of life” which is the centerpiece of Easter Celebrations… worldwide!

Greek Easter Lamb, charcoal pit cooking.

Below is my “Greek Easter Lamb” recipe, given to me by my Greek friend Theo, many years ago while working as an assistant pastry chef for Royal Cruise Line, on the Crown Odyssey. Theo’s recipe was for the traditional cooking of a whole lamb outdoors over a charcoal fire, roasting slowly over many hours. Similar to the picture shown here.  Over the years I took his recipe and refined it.

I use a leg of young lamb, bone removed . If you want to try the whole lamb roasting in its traditional way by all means do, just increase the recipe by 4-5 times all the ingredients listed and enjoy the work out!

Greek Easter Lamb (5-8 portions)

Easter lamb

Easter lamb

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons – Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons – Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh, or 1 1/2 teaspoons- Oregano (dry) crumbled with fingers to awaken the flavors.
  • 7 lbs – Leg of Lamb, bone removed, trimmed of excess fat, leaving a fatty layer behind.
  • 2 cloves – Garlic, cut into approximately 12 slivers.
  • 3 Tablespoons – Lemon Juice (fresh)

Procedure:

  • Preheat the oven to 400º F.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of the fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon of the dried.
  • Rub the lamb all over with the mixture.
  • With a small sharp knife, make 24 slits in the boned side of the lamb and insert a garlic sliver in each.  Rub the lamb with the remaining olive oil and oregano and pour the lemon juice over all.
  • Place the lamb, boned side down, on a broiler rack with a broiler pan underneath to catch the drippings. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120º F.  Turn the oven temperature to broil and place the lamb in the broiler about 5 inches from the heat. Broil 2 to 3 minutes, or until the meat starts to brown.
  • Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Sauce is not usually served in Greece with the traditional Easter Lamb; their lamb is succulent and juicy enough from the hours of the spit roasting and basting over an open fire.  Since most of us are used to restaurant dining, we may miss having a sauce. I think a quick “livened-up” sauce from the pan drippings is best and keeps close to the tradition.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 large – Garlic clove, crushed and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon- Lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon – Thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon – Parsley (finely chopped)

Procedure:

  • Stir the garlic, lemon juice and thyme into the pan juices scraping up the caramelized bits from the bottom.  Cover and keep warm.

To Serve:

    • Carve the lamb and transfer the slices to a warm serving platter. Stir the chopped  parsley into the sauce and pour it over the lamb or pass separately.

 

Happy Easter… May your Inspirational “Rebirth” now begin!

Learn more about visiting Greece here.

There are many fun, interesting and educational things you can do from Piraeus.  The link here will get you started.