9 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Ham or Lamb This Easter

9 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Ham or Lamb This Easter
Graphic: Elena Scotti,Photo: Getty Images,Photo: Shutterstock

Ham and lamb are the go-to proteins of Easter Sunday. They’re very different pieces of meat, but both feel impressive and celebratory in the middle of your dining room table. I have cooked and eaten a lot of each over the years and — as always — have some suggestions.

Marinate your lamb in labneh

Photo: Claire LowerPhoto: Claire Lower

Lamb-neh (lamb that has been marinated in labneh) is tender, juicy, and low-effort. All you have to do is smear some chops with the not-quite-sour-cream-not-quite-cream-cheese spread (and a little salt), let it rest overnight in the fridge, then wipe the labneh off and pan fry the chops until a dark crust forms on the outside and they reach and internal temperature of 55 to 60 degrees Celsius depending on your preference. This recipe is perfect for those who like their lamb on the more done side — the labneh keeps things nice and moist, even at higher temperatures.

Precision cook your ham

Photo: Claire LowerPhoto: Claire Lower

If you bought a spiral-cut or otherwise pre-cooked ham, all you have to do is heat that sucker up, and precision cooking is the perfect way to do just that. Cooking your ham in a constant-temperature water bath keeps things nice and moist (read this for temperature and time details), and — once it’s heated — you can hold your ham there for up to an hour until you’re ready to glaze it up.

And glaze it up good

Graphic: Elena Scotti,Photo: Shutterstock,Photo: Getty ImagesGraphic: Elena Scotti,Photo: Shutterstock,Photo: Getty Images

A ham without a glaze is just lunch meat, and we have five (5!) delicious options for you to choose from, ranging from the traditional (brown sugar and mustard) to the slightly unexpected (Jamaican sorrel).

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But don’t sleep on pepper jelly

Photo: Elena Shashkina, ShutterstockPhoto: Elena Shashkina, Shutterstock

If you want a glaze that’s sweet and spicy, just thin a little pepper jelly with some apple juice and brush the mixture on your ham while it finishes in the oven. (Consume any extra jelly with cream cheese and Wheat Thins.)

Precision cook a lamb neck (with grapes)

Photo: Claire LowerPhoto: Claire Lower

Lamb necks are an under-appreciated, under-utilised, and cost-effective cut. The whole purpose of any neck is to hold up a head and, as a result, this cut is just full of bone and connective tissue, which sounds like a drawback but is actually a benefit. In terms of flavour, it tastes like a feral pot roast — tender, meaty, and wilder tasting than its beefy relative, but cooking it too fast or at too high of a temperature results in tough, chewy meat. Because of that, I like to precision cook my necks with handful of tangy grapes and a few sprigs of fresh herbs, then reduce the bag juices to make a salty sauce.

Or precision cook some shanks

Photo: Claire LowerPhoto: Claire Lower

Lamb shanks also precision cook quite well. The meat gets fall-off-the-bone tender, while the marrow in the bones get nice and buttery. Cook for 24 hours in 80 degree Celsius water bath, then under the broiler with a simple two-ingredient glaze. Consume using the bone as a handle.

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Or smoke a whole leg

Photo: Sam BithoneyPhoto: Sam Bithoney

If you want to take your lamb outside, you can use your grill (yes, even your propane grill), to smoke a big ol’ roast. This guide will walk you through the whole process, but take note of the rub Sam uses — incorporating freeze-dried fruit into your rubs is a certified hack that you can use in many BBQ endeavours.

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Don’t sleep on steaks

Photo: Claire LowerPhoto: Claire Lower

Lamb steaks are a good “intro lamb.” They’re milder than chops, and can be cooked to excellent results using either sous-vide or reverse sear. I like to cook mine in a constant-temperature water bath set to 58 degrees Celsius for an hour, let it rest, then finish it in a hot pan with lots of butter. If I’m using the reverse sear method, I’ll slow roast it in a 200-degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, then finish it in a hot pan on the stove to bring it up to 58 degrees Celsius.

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Save the bones

Photo: Claire LowerPhoto: Claire Lower

Whether you’re cooking ham or lamb, be sure to keep the bones. You can chuck them in a pot of beans, make a stock, or (in the case of the ham bone), use the bone to make a big pot of red beans and rice (which is my favourite option).

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