Baaaaaa-lated Easter Dinner!

Most of us here eat a pretty wide variety of things.  Even my boys are used to eating a lot of different ethnic cuisines.  As a matter of fact, as long as it's meat and starch, my kids will eat it.  We're working on the fruits and veggie thing with the boys and they are getting better.

I'm finding meat here in Wisconsin can be so expensive.  We LOVE lamb but at $8-$20 per lb, we can't afford it often.  Imagine our delight when at our last Costco trip we found boneless leg of lamb for $5.99 a lb!  It is also one of the only meats The Greek's younger son will eat (he doesn't do any kind of poultry or seafood and even pork is iffy).

Since we went to brunch on Easter, I was too full to think about cooking the rest of the day so we moved the lamb to the middle of the week.  I decided to roast the lamb, and serve it with tzatziki sauce, Greek rice and flat bread.

Roast Lamb
Boneless Leg of Lamb (mine was 6 lbs but any size is ok)
3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
1 T dried oregano, crushed
1 T dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 c red wine (I used Cabernet sauvignon because that's what I had)
Juice of one lemon

Mix all the ingredients together and marinate the lamb for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees then put the lamb on a rack in a pan and put in the oven for 10 min.  Lower temp to 425 and cook until desired doneness.  I like mine rarer so I cook to an internal temp of about 130-135 degrees.  Mine did smoke up the house a bit and I think next time I'll put the marinade in the pan below the roast..  Remove from oven and let sit at least 15 min before slicing. The 6 lb roast took about 90 min.

Bathing in Red Wine

Just out of the oven

Tzatziki Sauce
24 oz of plain Greek yogurt
1 cup cucumber, coarsely grated or chopped
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
2 T Lemon juice
2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp mint extract (optional)

Line a strainer with a drip coffee filter or a couple layers of cheesecloth.  Scoop the yogurt in and let drain over a bowl for at least an hour.   (If you want to use regular plain yogurt, do this step but let it set at least overnight, dumping out the liquid if it gets too high.)  Put the shredded or chopped cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt and mix.  Let that sit over or inside a bowl for an hour.  After an hour squeeze out as much liquid as you can out of the cucumbers.  I just do this with my hands but you can use a towel or cheesecloth.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for another hour to let everything "meld".  You can put chopped fresh mint in too or instead of the dill and the extract.  I love the extra burst of freshness the mint gives this sauce..

Secret to a thick Tzatziki is to let everything drain well

This is what drained off after an hour .  At least 1.5 cups each

Finished Sauce.  Wish you could smell this!

Greek Rice in the rice cooker
1 T butter (or olive oil)
2 c rice (I used half long grain white and half brown basmati)
3-4 c chicken broth*
2 T lemon juice
1/4 c flat leaf parsley, chopped fine

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium high heat and put the rice in and stir until it's all coated.  Keep stirring for about 3 min.  You don't want the rice to change color much.  I dumped the rice, chicken broth and lemon juice into my rice cooker and turned it on.  When it was done, I stirred in the parsley.

*The amount of chicken broth will depend on the rice.  Brown rice requires more liquid.  Use whatever you would normally or whatever the instructions for your rice says to.

I served everything with flatbread, gyros style.  It was so good.  I can't wait for lunch leftovers today!

This makes for some good eating!


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