Are you planning lamb for Easter lunch? Are you considering it but feeling nervous because you've never cooked it before? Braising a lamb shank or cooking some lamb chops in a fry pan is really no more complicated than doing the same to pork, but it feels that way to us—maybe because lamb is more expensive, so we're afraid of messing it up. Below, we've got five recipes that look straightforward and delicious.
We chose these recipes because they involved relatively few steps and simple instructions. A few of them are braised, and braising is very forgiving and easy to do ahead of time. We think our favorite lamb preparation is on the grill, but since it's cold where we live, we're focusing on lamb cooked in the oven. For all of these, we'd recommend a meat thermometer. It takes so much of the guesswork out of cooking meat in general.
Here are the recipes:
• Braised Lamb Shanks with Spring Vegetables and Spring Gremolata, from Bon Appétit (above). This one is from Joanne Weir, whose kitchen we've toured. This is probably the most complicated of the recipes, but still a very basic brown-and-braise. There are notes throughout showing you what can be done ahead.
• Lamb Chops with Citrus Sauce and Baby Mache Salad, from Martha Stewart. A quick recipe! Sauté the lamb chops for a few minutes on each side, then make a simple pan sauce. The recipe calls for some exotic citrus like pummelo and oroblancos, but we think oranges and grapefruit would work just fine.
• Roast Lamb with Spiced Red Cabbage, from Bon Appétit. The cabbage wooed us on this one; it's spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and apples. A little wintry, but it still sounds yummy.
• Braised Lamb Shanks with Mint-Parsley Pesto, from Chow. Another uncomplicated braise, and the pesto is made in seconds, just by whizzing everything in a food processor.
• Roast Lamb with White Beans, from Cookstr. This is a one-pan dish, with the beans and tomatoes added around the lamb as it roasts. We love the idea of creamy beans underneath the meat.
(Image: Kana Okada for Bon Appétit)