As the 25th comes rushing towards us, everyone is in stress mode…when will I have time to shop? I don’t know what to get anyone this year!! What will I serve for dinner??? Oh, wait…that last one has never been a problem in this house! Our Christmas traditional dinner (in our family) is Roast Leg of Lamb (Arni Psito sto Fourno) on page 73 and Oven-Roasted Lemon Potatoes (Patates Lemonates) on page 227. Of course this classic roast is the centerpice of Easter dinner but we hate waiting that long for the next time, so Christmas is the perfect time for us to have it again. I have read that in Greece, lamb is the meat of sacrifice and has been so since ancient times. Oregano and thyme, which grew wild all over the mountainside would be sprinkled over the lamb by the priest in pagan Greece, and he would then anoint the animal with olive oil and lemon juice before roasting it as an offering to the Gods (it never mentioned if they ate it after it was cooked). At that time, women were not allowed to prepare this meat. I pretty much prepare our leg of lamb the same way, using oregano, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. I know you don’t all have our book,  A Greek Journey With Fork and Pen, so I will give you the recipe THIS time, but I urge you to order it right here on this site. It not only has great Greek recipes, but chronicles our travels through Greece over three different trips. It could help you decide where you would like to start your own trip to Greece. I usually get a boneless leg of lamb for the grill, but it is the most flavorful with the bone in.

So here we go…

1 leg of lamb (8-10 lb), bone in                                          1 t each salt and pepper
2/3 c lemon juice                                                                    2 T dried Greek oregano (or any oregano if you can’t find greek)
4 garlic cloves, slivered                                                       1 c water or beef broth
1/2 c olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F when ready to roast

Place the lamb on a cutting board. With the point of a sharp knife, make deep slits all over and insert garlic slivers. Mix all ingredients except water for marinade. Place the lamb and the marinade in a large reclosable plastic bag and place in fridge. Marinate the lamb overnight, turning bag occasionally until ready to roast. Place lamb in roasting pan with marinade and water and reduce the oven to 350 degrees F. Roast for about 2 to 3 hours (add more water or broth as needed) or until thermometer registers 170 for medium to well done (until skin is crispy and juices run clear). This is how the Greeks like it cooked. I am sure you have had it prepared more on the rare side especially in restaurants, which is good, but I really don’t think you get the deep flavor of the lamb when it is cooked rare. As they say, to each his own, so you decide how rare you want your lamb and do it!! I’m not adding the recipe for the potatoes here, but know that you can peel and quarter them and put them in the pan with the roast and be very happy when they are done. They will definitely need more liquid, however!

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is always a time for reminiscing with Christmas music playing in the background and everyone gathered around the warm fire crackling in the fireplace…if it is cold enough here in California! Sometimes if it isn’t exactly freezing, we still light the fire but keep the sliding glass door open…so it doesn’t get too warm! (Whatever we need to do to enhance the mood!!)

Wherever you are on Christmas, stop and remember the “reason for the season”, and when picking out gifts, know the best gift you can give anyone is the gift of love. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

See you next time!

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