5 Unique Roast Recipes to Serve for Easter Dinner

Easter Sunday isn’t complete without a roast gracing your dinner table. For an occasion as special as Easter, you’ll want a roast that goes above and beyond one that you’d normally serve for supper, which is why we’ve compiled five recipes that revamp your standard lamb, ham, and duck. Sweeten lamb using honey, spinach, and pine nuts, create a duck that’s been stuffed with bacon, or cover your Easter ham with a lovely tangerine glaze. Any one of these reinvented roasts will be a hit with your Easter guests!

1. Duck Stuffed with Pork

Roast makes for a classic Easter dinner. | iStock.com

Thanks to Fine Dining Lovers’ recipe, you can create a flavor-packed Easter roast using minimal ingredients. This duck recipe is traditionally prepared in the Tuscany region, Fine Dining notes, and will appease any and all meat lovers. To prepare this dish, first create a mixture that consists of salt, pepper, fennel seeds, bacon, pieces of duck liver, and garlic. Place the mixture in the cavity of the duck, and make sure to frequently rotate it while it’s cooking. When the skin is dry and crunchy, your roast is ready to serve!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole duck
  • Garlic cloves, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Italian bacon
  • Fennel seeds

Directions: Singe the duck, remove the pin feathers from the skin, and then empty the cavity and wash and dry the duck, including the inside. Put plenty of salt, pepper, and fennel seeds on a plate, and then chop the Italian bacon into cubes that will be flavored with the mixture. Clean out the gizzard and clean the liver of any spots of bile, then wash, cut into pieces, and add to the seasoned bacon along with the garlic cloves.

Fill the cavity of the duck with this mixture, taking care to close the opening with kitchen thread. Salt and pepper the outside as well, and then arrange in a greased pan and place in a hot oven. Turn often and as it cooks prick the skin occasionally with a fork to let out the grease. The duck will be ready when the skin is dry and crunchy.

2. Easter Ham with Golden Breadcrumbs and Madeira Sauce

 Roasted ham | iStock.com

Breadcrumbs give this ham a crisp and crunchy coating, while a creamy sauce made from Madeira wine adds flavor and depth to this delicious entrée. Bon Appétit notes that you can use any supermarket bone-ham when preparing this recipe, but suggests splurging on the best cured, smoked, bone-in ham you can find to ensure it’s worthy of your Easter Sunday dinner. The recipe yields 16 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-pound) whole bone-in smoked ham
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs, made from 6 (½-inch-thick) slices rustic white bread
  • 3 cups Madeira wine

Directions: Arrange a rack on lowest level of oven; preheat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Without trimming fat, remove outer rind from most of ham, leaving a band around end of shank bone. Spacing cuts ¾-inch apart to make a diamond pattern, score fat on top of ham crosswise and then lengthwise on a diagonal. Place ham in a large roasting pan. Pour 3 cups water into pan and roast ham for 2 hours. Meanwhile, stir brown sugar and mustard in a medium bowl until a thick paste forms; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs; toast, stirring often, until very crispy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Set aside. Remove ham from oven; increase temperature to 350 degrees. Spread half of sugar-mustard paste over scored top of ham. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of ham registers 145 degrees, about 1 hour. If pan juices have dried out, add 1 cup water to pan. Remove ham from oven; increase temperature to 400 degrees. Spread remaining sugar-mustard paste over ham and pack breadcrumbs all over top. Bake ham until crumbs are deep golden brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.

Transfer ham to a serving platter; let rest for 20 minutes before carving. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth. Set sieve over a medium pitcher or gravy boat. Spoon off fat from surface of juices in pan; discard. Add Madeira to pan. Place roasting pan over medium-high heat and simmer liquids briskly, scraping up browned bits, until sauce thickens and is reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain sauce through prepared sieve, pressing on solids; discard solids. Carve ham. Serve sauce alongside.

3. Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint and Lemon

Let of lamb | iStock.com

Filled with mint, lemon, and garlic, Fine Cooking creates a slow-roasted leg of lamb that tastes like spring. Look for young lamb when purchasing your meat; this will ensure it’s tender and mild in flavor. Fine Cooking also recommends firm, finely grained, pale to dark-pink meat that has a smooth, white layer of fat. The lamb must be coated in a mixture of mint, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper and refrigerated for eight hours prior to cooking, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bone-in leg of lamb, 6 to 9 pounds
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus ½ cup small fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1½ cups lower-salt chicken broth

Directions: Put the lamb in a 4-quart, 15-by-10-inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the chopped mint, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Spread the mixture over the lamb and turn to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, turning once. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Put it on a V-rack in a 13-by-16-inch flameproof roasting pan. Cover the shank bone with foil. Add the reserved pelvic bone and 1 cup of water to the pan. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the lamb in the oven and lower the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg, away from the bone, reads 135 degrees to 140 degrees for medium rare, 1½ to 2 hours. Transfer the lamb to a warm platter and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the top of the pan juices and then set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add the wine, and with a wooden spoon, scrape up all the browned bits. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced to about ¼ cup. Add the broth, return to a boil, and reduce the liquid again to about 1 cup. Season to taste with salt and pepper, strain into a sauceboat, and stir in the mint leaves. Carve the lamb and serve with the sauce.

4. Tangerine-Glazed Easter Ham with Baby Carrots

Tangerines | iStock.com

A sweet glaze consisting of butter, tangerines, brown sugar, water, and spices pairs perfectly with smoked ham and carrots. You’ll know the roast is done cooking when the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and it’s thoroughly coated with a stunning sugary glaze. Food Network’s recipe for tangerine-glazed Easter ham With baby carrots yields 10 to 12 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8- to 10-pound) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in chunks
  • 2 tangerines, sliced thin, seeds removed
  • 2 cups tangerine juice
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1½ pounds carrots, peeled

Directions: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 2-inches apart and ½-inch deep. Cut diagonally down the slashes to form a diamond pattern; season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Chop about 8 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl; mix with the oil to make a paste. Rub the sage-oil all over the ham, being sure to get the flavor into all the slits.

Bake the ham for 2 hours. For the glaze, place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chunks of butter, tangerines, tangerine juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Slowly cook the liquid down to a syrupy glaze; this should take about 30 to 40 minutes. After the ham has being going for a couple of hours, pour the tangerine glaze all over it, with the pieces of fruit and all.

Scatter the remaining sage leaves on top and stick the ham back in the oven and continue to cook for 1½ hours, basting with the juices every 30 minutes. Scatter the carrots around the ham and coat in the tangerine glaze. Stick the ham once again back in the oven and cook for a final 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and the whole thing is glistening with a sugary glaze. Set the ham on a cutting board to rest before carving. Serve the carrots and tangerine glaze on the side.

5. Honeyed Roast Lamb with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Lamb roast | iStock.com

Add a touch of elegance to your Easter dinner with Saveur’s honeyed roast lamb with spinach and pine nuts. Pine nuts add a pleasant texture, while veggies, honey, and wine ensure this roast is bursting with great flavor. The recipe yields four servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3-pound) piece young lamb shoulder with bones removed and reserved and meat butterflied and trimmed of sinew and fat
  • 2 pounds lamb bones
  • Salt
  • 2 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed, washed, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • 4 pounds spinach, trimmed, washed, and chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put all lamb bones into a heavy medium roasting pan, season to taste with salt, and roast until brown, 1 hour. Scatter celery, carrots, onions, and leeks in pan with bones and roast for 30 minutes more. Transfer pan to top of stove, sprinkle flour in bottom of pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in wine, 5 cups water, and honey and bring to a boil, scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by two-thirds, 1½ to 2 hours. Discard bones, then strain sauce through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Skim off and discard fat. Adjust seasonings. Keep sauce warm over lowest heat. Meanwhile, cook spinach in a large pot of salted water over high heat until very soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, squeezing out excess water, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay lamb out flat on a work surface perpendicular to you, skin side down.

Place spinach down center of meat, season to taste with salt and scatter with pine nuts. Gather long sides of meat together to enclose filling and tuck short sides in at each end. Tie kitchen twine around width of meat at 2-inch intervals, then tie a piece of twine around length of meat to hold ends in place. Rub meat with oil and season to taste with salt. Then put into a medium roasting pan and roast until tender, 1 to 1½ hours. Let lamb rest for 10 minutes, then remove twine and carve. Spoon sauce over lamb.

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