Slow roast lamb for Easter Sunday dinner

Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with cumin seeds.

Easter Sunday dinners are a tradition in many families. Though the COVID-19 pandemic forced families to alter that tradition in 2020, and could very well do so again in 2021, it’s worth noting that Easter takes place in April this year. In many areas, April weather is warm enough to enable al fresco dining, potentially opening the door for families to celebrate together in small groups.

Though this Easter might again feel unusual, families can still lean on their favorite dishes when serving Easter dinner. Perhaps no food is more closely associated with Easter than lamb. This recipe for “Slow-roasted Shoulder of Lamb With Cumin Seeds” from Darina Allen’s “Easy Entertaining” (Kyle Cathie Limited) can make for a delicious Easter dinner.

Slow-roasted Shoulder of Lamb With Cumin Seeds

Serves 8 to 10

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 whole shoulder of lamb on the bone (7-8 lbs.)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the cumin gravy:

1 pint homemade lamb or chicken stock

1 to 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground Roux (optional)

Warm the cumin seeds lightly in a pan, then crush them using a pestle and mortar. Score the skin of the meat in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife. Transfer to a roasting tin. Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper and the ground cumin seeds, and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast for 6-7 hours at 275 F — this gives a delicious, juicy, succulent texture. (Alternatively, preheat the oven to 320 F and roast for 2-21⁄2 hours.) Transfer to a serving dish and leave in a warm place while you make the gravy.

To make the cumin gravy, spoon the fat off the roasting tin. Add the stock to the remaining cooking juice. Boil for a few minutes on top of the stove, stirring and scraping the tin well to dissolve the caramelised meat juices (a small whisk is typically ideal for this). Add the ground toasted cumin. Thicken with a little roux if you like. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a gravy boat.

Carve the meat into thick slices so that everybody gets some crushed cumin seeds. Serve with the cumin gravy and crusty roast potatoes.

Note: For Lamb Roast with Coriander: Substitute coriander seeds for the cumin seeds, both for roasting the limb and flavoring the gravy. Alternatively, use a mix of cumin and coriander seeds.

Note: A shoulder of lamb is much trickier to carve than a leg, but it’s so sweet and juicy that is certainly worth the struggle.