Post image for Kala Christougena – Merry Christmas

Kala Christougena – Merry Christmas

by Sava

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!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Georgia Cone December 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

One of my favorite memories of Christmas when we were growing up is watching Mom make Loukoumathes ,Honey Dumplings !! Oh how that cinnamon sprinkled sweetness melted in my mouth!It’s worth the time to create these amazing delectable goodies at anytime,but they are special at Christmas . Find the recipe in our book,page 210 !! Merry, Merry !!!


Sava December 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I love that memory, too, Georgia. They were so light and delicious…very special!!


Penny Jessop December 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm

My mouth waters for the yearly treats your mom prepared for our families on Berkeley St.
I’ve never found a recipe for thiples,(spelling?) that can equal hers.
Glad I have my memories!
I think of you all at this time of year.


Sava December 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Hi Penny, I remember, too, how she loved preparing all those dishes of Greek sweets for all our neighbors! I must say that her thiples were the best and most incredible I’ve ever had to this day. We had some on two occasions on our last trip to Greece in June and they just didn’t “measure up”! hers were so delicate while the honey they were soaked in clung to each bite. A lovely taste sensation that dwells in my memory of favorite tastes! Don’t give up. The secret is in the rolling…when you think they are thin enough, roll them out even thinner! Have a Merry Christmas, my Dear!


Zainuri October 9, 2015 at 7:20 am

Here you are = )Welsh Roast Leg of Lamb1.8-2kg/4-4bdlb leg of lamb2 lemons3 galirc cloves4 tbsp mint, chopped4 tbsp olive oilsalt and freshly ground black pepperFor the gravy:2 rounded tsp plain flour290ml/bd pint vegetable stock150ml/bc pint red wine2 tsp mustard (English or Dijon)1 tbsp redcurrant or cranberry jellyTo prepare the lamb, wipe with kitchen paper, then make about 10 large deep cuts in the flesh with a large sharp knife. Grate the rind and squeeze the juice of one and a half lemons, and finely chop the galirc.Mix the lemon rind and juice, galirc, mint, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.Put the lamb in a large food bag (a pedal bin liner is ideal). Pour the mint and lemon mixture into the bag, then rub it into the lamb through the bag. This will save your hands getting messy.Loosely fold the end of the bag over, and put the lamb in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight if more convenient.To finish, put the lamb in a roasting tin and pour over any remaining marinade from the bag. Add three tablespoons of water to the roasting tin to help stop the juices burning.Thinly slice the remaining half a lemon, then cut each slice in half. Fold the slices in half again and firmly push into the cuts in the meat.Roast the lamb for one hour to 75 minutes for moist pink meat. If you prefer it more cooked, roast for a further 15-25 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a warm serving platter and cover tightly with foil. Leave to rest for 15 minutes while you make the gravy.Set the roasting tin on the hob over a medium heat. Spoon off any excess fat, then stir the flour into the pan juices, stirring well until it forms a paste.Gradually stir in the stock, then the wine, stirring all the time until thickened and smooth. Stir in the mustard and jelly and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.To carve the lamb, steady the joint with a carving fork or large fork. Make the first cut vertically, about halfway down the joint. Cut until you reach the bone. Cut slices either side of this first cut to give you neat slices of meat.When you have removed all the meat from the top of the leg, turn it over and carve horizontally from the base.Ocho Cinco


Sava December 10, 2015 at 12:55 am

Thanks for you comment. I would love to check out your blog but you didn’t leave the address. Have a great holiday, too.


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