When I think of traditional Easter recipes; lamb always comes to mind. For some reason (most likely my mother’s old Betty Crocker cookbook), I envision a vintage 1950’s table setting with a perfectly roasted leg of lamb, a side of bright green mint jelly and a jiggling aspic. This Easter lamb shanks recipe is a great way to feature lamb without a lot of fuss.
A leg of lamb can be daunting…and expensive (and not very practical for a small family). Lamb shanks are a much more affordable option for Easter. Whether you have a large gathering this Easter or a small one, lamb shanks are easy to cook and come out of the oven fork-tender and delicious. I often see lamb shanks on sale at my local grocery store for a few dollars apiece, but I scored these for only a few cents more from a local organic & grass-fed farm co-op.
If you want a fancy presentation, you can spend some extra time frenching the lamb shanks. This involves removing the meat and fat from the bottom of the shank; exposing the bone so when the shanks are cooked, they look like a big drumstick. I don’t bother, though. They look just fine like they are.
This Easter lamb shanks recipe only takes about 15 minutes to prep. It cooks in the oven for several hours and creates its own flavorful sauce full of carrots, celery, onion and herbs. I like to serve it with saffron rice but it will work equally well with mashed or roasted potatoes.
I have to mention (with some disbelief) that this is my first lamb recipe on Love and Duck Fat. This blog will be a year old in 5 months, so it’s about time. I cook with lamb fairly regularly so expect to see a few more before the big anniversary.
Happy Easter! -Marni
Season lamb well with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet and add the olive oil. Sear lamb on medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the lamb from the skillet.Add the onions to the skillet. Cook and stir, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the lamb, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, broth and wine to the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and cook at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. for 3 hours, turning the meat once. Check during cooking to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan to ensure the shanks are halfway submerged. Add more water if needed.
To serve, remove shanks from the sauce. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper if necessary. You can use the sauce as-is (chunky) or puree with added broth to make a smoother consistency.
I roast a chicken for my family about once a week, so it’s odd I haven’t posted a recipe yet. A lot of chicken recipes have come out of my kitchen, from jamming butter under the skin to basting and flipping every fifteen minutes. But who wants to spend all of that time and effort when you can get a yummy bird with just a few minutes of prep? That’s the beauty of roasting a chicken. It’s a simple, delicious meal with the bonus of leftovers.
It took me so long to post a roast chicken recipe because I was busy conducting my own little kitchen test. I found the top easy roast chicken recipes and tried each recipe several times. This has been going on for a few months now (much to the delight of my husband). Out of the ten recipes I tried, I chose my top five, listed below. These are all fantastic recipes, so you really can’t miss by choosing one to make your next family dinner.
I arranged this list in no particular order because they all are my favorite recipe for one reason or another. Read my notes about each recipe. At the bottom, you will find my combination of all of the recipes to get the most amazing chicken dinner ever, plus tips on roasting the perfect bird.
Thomas’ recipe stands apart. He rinses the chicken, pats it very dry, sprinkles the cavity with salt and pepper and trusses the bird. Next, he generously salts the outside of the bird and sprinkles with pepper. That’s it. No butter. No olive oil. No basting. The chicken cooks the entire time at 450 F/230 C. He beautifully describes how to carve and eat the chicken when it’s done.
I love this recipe for its simplicity, and it’s the recipe I use when I want to roast a chicken without vegetables. The chicken comes out juicy inside, with perfect skin. I have three warnings. Use a thermometer, truss the bird completely and pay attention to the size of your bird. I’ve had this recipe turn out both under-cooked and overcooked, so it’s not foolproof. Even so, I use this recipe often because it is the easiest roast chicken recipe you will find.
Martha first rinses her chicken, pats it dry, and then sprinkles it with salt and pepper. She stuffs the chicken with a lemon, smashed garlic cloves and thyme, and then spreads it with butter. The chicken cooks on top of onion slices at 425 F/ 220 C until done.
This is a great recipe, though slightly fussy. The process is described well including how to make a delicious pan sauce using the drippings. When I make it, I like to add more vegetables so it’s a complete meal in one pan. Fish out the smashed garlic cloves when the chicken is cooked and serve them with the bird.
Ina Garten’s roasted chicken recipe is at the top of most Google searches for roast chicken. She stuffs the chicken with thyme, lemon and garlic, brushes it with butter and sprinkles it with salt and pepper. It roasts on top of a mixture of onion, carrots and fennel. The chicken is roasted at 425 F/ 220 C for 1 ½ hours.
I tried this recipe several times and the chicken comes out perfect. Sometimes I use olive oil instead of the butter. If your chicken is the slightest bit cold, the butter hardens as you are trying to smear it around and it’s messy. The bird cooks up tender and juicy with a crispy skin (though not the crispiest of the five). The veggies cooked underneath are amazing. I use the vegetables I have available and they all come out delicious. Celery, cabbage, parsnips and other vegetables all work in this recipe.
What I like about Jamie’s recipe is how easy it is, plus it’s a complete meal. He doesn’t truss the chicken or even peel the vegetables. I like that he uses olive oil instead of butter, because it’s easier. You don’t end up with butter all over the place, and the taste is still just as good.
Jamie doesn’t describe how to make a pan gravy from the drippings. He also doesn’t serve the vegetables that are roasted with the chicken. That’s the best part!
Ree takes softened butter and mixes it with lemon zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. She smears the chicken with the butter mixture and stuffs it with lemon halves and rosemary sprigs. The chicken is roasted at 425 F/ 220 C until done.
This almost doesn’t qualify as easy, due to the whole butter schmear process, but it’s also not hard…and it’s delicious! The recipe is a fun read, too. When I make it, I truss the legs. That’s my only change. For some reason, I feel incomplete if the legs aren’t perfectly trussed, but that’s my own issue.
Soups to make with your chicken broth:
Heat oven to 425 F/ 220 C with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Allow the chicken to come to room temperature, about 1 hour. I don’t wash my chicken. You can, but it really serves no purpose and gets germs all over your sink. Remove the giblets and neck from the inside (save these for stock). Using paper towels, dry the chicken really well inside and out. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Roll the lemon on a counter top, pressing with your hand. Then prick with a knife. Place the lemon inside the chicken along with the fresh herbs.
Truss the chicken. Grab some butcher’s twine and tie the legs together, looping the sting around the tail bone. You can stop there or do a complete truss.
Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken. Sprinkle well with salt and fresh pepper. Set aside.
Arrange your onion, carrots, celery, fennel and garlic cloves in the bottom of the roasting pan. Toss with a glug of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables. Insert the thermometer between the thigh and breast. Place in the oven. Now leave it alone. Don’t baste it, turn it or repeatedly open the oven door.
Cook the chicken for an hour, to an hour and a half, until the internal temperature hits 165 F / 74 C. Remove from the oven and move the chicken to a carving board. Allow the chicken to rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes before carving. Remove the vegetables from the pan and arrange on a serving platter.
Add ½ cup of water to the warm roasting pan and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Pour the pan juices into a small measuring cup. Let it settle, then spoon the fat off the top and discard. Add the pan juices, chicken stock and white wine to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.
Add lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add some herbs if you like (tarragon or rosemary work well). Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.
Do you have a favorite roast chicken recipe? Share it below!
I have a long history with kimchi, and two distinct memories come to mind when I think of it. The first memory is from when I was around nine years old. That is when kimchi became a regular part of my life due to my new Vietnamese stepmother.She had a lot of Korean friends and we all loved to eat at a local Korean restaurant. I immediately loved the stuff. It was crunchy and spicy and I ate it even though it smelled funny.
My mom would also buy bottles of kimchi at the supermarket. I’m not sure if she already ate it, or if I begged her to buy some. But if my kid begged me to buy bottled cabbage, I’d buy it too! I was around thirteen when my second distinct kimchi memory occurred.
It was Halloween, and my best friend and I wanted to make a “scary sounds” cassette recording (that’s what we used back in the olden-days). We had a long walkway up to the house which was under lit, and completely surrounded by lush tropical plants packed so tight, not a blade of grass would grow. The palm fronds overhead formed a dark tunnel up to the doorway, which was decorated in the appropriate Halloween assortment of cobwebs, paper witches and fabric ghosts.
That night, we placed a boom box in the open window, blasting out into the street our homemade recording of strange and spooky sounds. First there was the sound of witch-y teenage giggling, followed by some moaning. Then rattling chains, more giggling and finally…the gross sound of me chomping open-mouthed on kimchi into the microphone.
Now that I’m all grown up, I make my own kimchi every few months at home. It’s delicious to snack on, and despite the amount of red pepper, it’s really good for your digestion. Kimchi is usually made with cabbage, but I decided to try some daikon and carrot sticks instead. Fermented for a few days in the closet, the sticks come out perfectly crunchy, delicious and fun to eat.
Place the daikon, carrot and salt in a strainer in the sink. Toss the vegetables in the salt to coat. Let sit for 3-4 hours. Wash thoroughly to remove the salt and allow to dry.
Place the daikon, carrot, scallions, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and chili powder in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight lid, leaving a few inches of room at the top. You can let this ferment for 2-3 days in a closet or eat right away. If you allow it to ferment, turn the bottle upside-down a few times to distribute the moisture. Gas will build up as it ferments, so take care when opening.
I’ve found the key to getting my little one to eat is flavor, flavor, flavor — and a lot of variety. I taste all of his food before it goes into his mouth and have found that if I don’t like it, he won’t like it. It could be the taste or it could be the texture, so if he doesn’t like a food the first time, I’ll give it to him prepared a different way. For instance, he doesn’t like to eat fresh peaches, but if I bake them, he loves them. If I give him sliced banana on his tray, he just smears them around, but if I let him gum off a bite from a whole banana (while I eat it too), he begs for more. Keep mixing it up to keep their interest because babies love to explore new things. The baby food available at the supermarket has vastly improved, but nothing compares to the taste of fresh, homemade meal. This turkey, carrot and potato baby food recipe is easy to make and will help develop good eating habits — eating what you make, not store-bought prepared meals.
Because my little guy IS such an adventurous eater, I don’t give him the same foods for days on end. I make mini batches of baby food in a small saucepan a few times a week from what I have available. I leave everything to simmer to tenderness, adding bits along the way. This one is always a hit with my little guy. It has the delicious, homemade flavor of your favorite stew, and is healthy for your little one. You can puree this, or leave it chunky if your baby is eating finger foods. Just make sure you cut everything into small enough pieces.
Try to find organic vegetables and meat if possible, especially when it comes to potatoes, celery and apples. These made the “Dirty Dozen List” for fruits and vegetables containing the most pesticides for 2013. Others include cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. I also make my own chicken stock from the leftover bones from roasting a chicken. Homemade chicken stock is rich in calcium, magnesium and other minerals, plus gelatin, which aids the body in producing cartilage. In addition to the health benefits, the taste is delicious.
In a saucepan, brown the turkey in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the herbs, garlic and stir for just a minute. Add the carrots, potato, sweet potato and chicken stock. Lower heat and cook covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The stock should reduce down about half.
For younger babies, mash or puree this mixture in a food processor until smooth, adding the pan juices until you reach the desired consistency. For older babies who are capable of feeding themselves, you can serve as-is.
My 8 month old has started pushing away any sweet-tasting baby food in favor of more savory recipes that adults enjoy. I started mixing him up some comfort food classics like baby food lasagna and creamy chicken pot pie. He loves these recipes, banging his hands for more when I don’t move the spoon into his mouth fast enough. For a delicious, healthy homemade baby food recipe your little one will love; try this one with chicken, carrots, green beans and potatoes.
This recipe is a classic: roasted chicken, carrots and green beans with creamy mashed potatoes. You can make it easily from leftovers from your own dinner, or cook it on one pot if you are short on time (who isn’t?). I use all organic ingredients, sourcing my chicken from a local farm coop. If you can’t find organic chicken in your area, look for chicken raised without growth hormones. The addition of Greek yogurt adds a delicious creaminess while giving your baby probiotics and vitamins like potassium, calcium, B12 and D.
At this age, I also spice it up a bit. Garlic adds delicious flavor while acting as a powerful antioxidant. Ginger is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and intestinal benefits and healthy fats like olive oil boost the immune system. I also cook my veggies in homemade chicken stock. This is important, not only to add flavor, but for health. Studies have shown that chicken stock boosts the immune system while adding bone-building calcium. If you purchase store-bought stock, make sure to buy organic “stock”, not broth. Broth does not contain the nutrition benefits of stock since it is made from the meat instead of the bones.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: This recipe results in about 4-6 baby-sized servings. Double the recipe if you want to freeze a portion.
Comfort food goodness packed with nutrition.
In a small pan, sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add carrot, green beans, potato, garlic and ginger. Pour enough chicken stock to cover and bring to a boil uncovered. Reduce heat to low and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place all ingredients into a food processor with yogurt and blend until smooth; using the cooking liquid to thin the puree until you get the right consistency.
I’ve been making baby food for my little one since he started to eat solids at six months. I started with a book of recipes, but soon left the book on the shelf to create my own. Now that he’s 8 months old, I sometimes just puree what we are having for dinner. He loves variety and I can see the excitement on his face when he tries new foods. He’s already had every type of seasonal organic fruit and veggie I could get my hands on, plus yogurt, cheese, beef, chicken, rabbit, lamb, octopus and fish. That’s quite a good start for my little foodie-in-training!
This recipe is a basic one I keep on hand, changing the ingredients according to what I find at the market. Something I like to do is roast my veggies instead of boil them. The flavor is much more intensified, because the water is removed from the veggies as they roast. Quinoa is a great way to add protein and it cooks faster than other grains.I bump up the protein and flavor by cooking it in chicken broth.
Roast the sweet potato and apple whole without oil in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You should see juice coming out of the potato and the apple skin blistering. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a pan, combine the quinoa, thinly sliced carrots and chicken broth. Add any seasonings like ginger and cinnamon here. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes. You will know the quinoa is done when little sprouts pop out from the seeds and the liquid is absorbed. Carrots should be fork tender. Let cool.
Peel the skin from the sweet potato and apple. It should come right off in your hand. Slice the apple from the core. Combine all ingredients in a food processor (I use a Cuisinart mini prep for this job). Blend until smooth, adding additional liquid until you get the consistency you like.