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Cook this: Roast leg of lamb with rosemary for Easter from Jubilee

Our cookbook of the week is Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by James Beard Award-winning journalist Toni Tipton-Martin. Over the next two days, we’ll feature another recipe from the book and an interview with the author.

To try another recipe from the book, check out: Braised celery .

Roasted on top of layered red potatoes and sprigs of parsley and rosemary, Toni Tipton-Martin’s leg of lamb is an Easter classic.

In illustrating the provenance of the dish in African American cooking, she includes a historical recipe for its predecessor: roast shoulder or leg of mutton studded with cloves, and stuffed with suet, salt, pepper, nutmeg, grated bread and egg yolks from Tunis G. Campbell’s 1848 book, Hotel Keepers, Head Waiters and Housekeepers’ Guide .

Tipton-Martin references several examples from the African continent as well, including the lamb curries of South Africa and spice-rich Moroccan lamb stews: “American adaptations in this canon are right where they belong,” she writes. This recipe, which draws on a long tradition of lamb-eating, was also informed by a roast her middle son made one Easter, when the boys set out to prepare a meal for the girls.

“They wanted to make lamb, and this is an adaptation of a dish they made. It was just such a great illustration for (those) who questioned whether African Africans eat lamb,” she says. “Here is a high schooler saying, ‘This is the dish we want to make.’ African Americans … are known for having roast lamb during Easter season. It’s been known within our community even if the broader community has not been aware of it.”

This year, Easter dinner will be a smaller for most. You can store cooked lamb for two to four days in the fridge, and eight to 12 months in the freezer, according to Health Canada . Wrap leftover lamb in a flatbread stuffed with fresh herbs, garlicky yogurt sauce and pickles, or use it in stir-fries, pastas and other noodle dishes, salads, sandwiches, meat pies, or rice and other grain bowls.


Oil, for the roasting pan
1 (4- to 5-lb/1.8 to 2.3 kg) trimmed boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
4 tbsp (60 mL) olive oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 4 sprigs
2 tbsp (30 mL) minced fresh rosemary, plus 4 sprigs
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) salt, or to taste
1 tsp (5 mL) black pepper
20 small red potatoes, peeled and quartered

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a large roasting pan with oil.

Step 2

Place the leg of lamb on a board. Open the lamb and place it fat side down. Pat dry with paper towels, if needed. Drizzle the lamb with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the minced parsley, minced rosemary and garlic. Rub over the entire surface of the lamb. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of the pepper. Roll up the lamb into as tight a cylinder as you can, and tie it with kitchen twine at 1-inch (2.5-cm) intervals so the meat holds its shape. Rub the lamb with the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil, and season with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) salt and 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) pepper.

Step 3

Place the herb sprigs in the bottom of the roasting pan. Arrange the potatoes on top of the herbs. Add the lamb, resting it on the potatoes so they will be flavoured with its juices, and roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the centre of the meat registers 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare or 140°F (60°C) for medium, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Step 4

Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Strain the pan juices into a cup. Let sit or refrigerate until the fat rises to the top, then skim off fat. Remove and discard the twine, and thinly slice the roast. Surround the lamb with roasted potatoes, drizzle with the juices and serve.

Serves: 8 to 10

Reprinted with permission from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Jerrelle Guy. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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