Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What would you serve with Leg of Lamb, or Ham?

My predecessor at one parish had a tradition, which I'm going to revive, of having area priests for dinner on Holy Thursday. One of the less-visible ministries of priests is to other priests. After all, the Lord did not train his Apostles in a solitary fashion, and it was vital that they remain a college after he empowered them with the Holy Spirit to carry out his plan.

So, anyway, I promised I'd fix a leg of lamb; and I figured I'd have a baked ham for those who may not care for lamb. (I confess I'm going to get help for this).

So: what's good with lamb? Ham?

Hint: let's keep this simple, both for the sake of those cooking it, and for a variety of tastes represented by 20+ priests.

Also, if anyone knows of any particular small-t traditions associated with Maundy Thursday, this'd be a great time to take them into consideration...


Kasia said...


I've not had much experience with lamb, so apart from mint jelly I can't suggest much. And I know just this short of nothing about Maundy Thursday traditions. That said...

With ham, I suggest some sort of potato dish (scalloped or au gratin are particularly good, and I don't think they're unreasonably hard to make). I can't see that clashing too hard with the lamb either. A green vegetable like broccoli and a salad are always good basic side dishes too. And bread, especially a nice French or Italian loaf (or a few, if you've got a lot of people) from your local bakery, is an easy complement to a meal like that.

If I lived in your area and had more experience cooking, I'd offer to do it for you, but alas! I'll be here in Detroit, getting ready for the Easter vigil!

Good luck!

glorybe said...

Cheesy scalloped potatoes are great with ham.

I love lamb made the Greek way with garlic cloves stuck in the meat, roasted, with potatoes and carrots around and some canned plum tomatoes poured over all.

I will gladly give you recipes if you like. I get the cheesy scalloped potatoe one from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. My dad's isn't really a recipe. It is easy, but very tasty.

I agree with above poster about salad and bread being good to go with.

Anonymous said...

Mint jelly's mandatory for lamb. Cheese-topped scalloped potatoes will be perfect as well. Hmm, what's for dessert? Does pecan pie sound good?

voter1 said...

Our family tradition at Easter time is ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, pickled eggs and beets, paska and babka (Polish/Eastern Eurpean breads)and a light pie(if such a thing exists, LOL) such as lemon chiffon or a light cheesecake.

voter1 said...

Oops, I forgot, how about the always popular SPAM Lamb from an American favorite M*A*S*H.

DigiHairshirt said...

If you don't want something as heavy as cheesy potatos, spring (new) potatos roasted with parsley or other herbs is good. Come Easter time, I look toward "lighter" fare to get out of "winter" meals.

Voter1 above has my kind of food! I'm of Polish/Irish heritage and Easter featured what voter1 mentioned. With that in mind, Polish cucumbers in sour cream is a delightful cold side dish.

Basically . . .

1. Thinly slice peeled cukes. I use my mandolin cutter set at the smallest level.

2. Mix with a little kosher salt. Not too much - you're not doing this to brine them so much as get water out of them.

3. Let sit for several hours. Then using your hands or a ricer, squeeeeeeze the water out and put the cukes in a bowl.

4. Mix sour cream, red wine vinegar and dill weed to taste. How much? Eh, just enough.

5. Chill and serve.

Barb, sfo said...

Make a big batch of Roasted Potatoes & Carrots.

For every 5 servings of potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots (any combo):
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

You don't need to peel the potatoes but yams do need peeling. Use bagged baby carrots. Cube up the potatoes. Toss in the dressing, and spread on foil-covered baking sheets. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes. Stir a couple of times so they don't stick to the pan.

Joy said...

We usually have ham for Easter Sunday and serve baked sweet potatoes (I know there are recipes to dress up the sweet potatoes, but I like them plain with a bit of butter--put those marshmallows away!). I also serve a salad of peas, shoepeg corn, red and green peppers, onions with an oil and vinegar dressing. Add a nice dinner roll, and you have a very attractive plate!

Rich Leonardi said...

Re: lamb. Roasted potatoes, a Greek-style salad with feta cheese, perhaps some couscous. And a good bottle of red zinfandel.

Fr. M. said...

I am glad that you are reving the tradition of having the local priests together. Here in Arlington I live with three other priests but I often wondered what our 'country cousins' did on this night on which our priesthood began.

Kasia said...

Digihairshirt, creamed cucumbers are AWESOME! My grandma used to make them. (Yeah, Polish too...)

New potatoes are nice, but I was thinking of ease - I think scalloped potatoes are probably easier to cook a large amount of.

Asparagus is great, as voter1 said, and Easter's the time of year when you should be able to get good, young, tender asparagus at a decent price.

And hey - now that I'm wallowing in my Polishness, my grandma always used to press her butter in lamb-shaped molds for Easter. It helps make for a beautiful table, and I'd be willing to make a gift of a lamb mold if it strikes your fancy, Father!

Father Kyle said...

No recipies unless I get an invite! :P

DilexitPrior said...

Small 't' traditions?

In my family we did something of a passover meal with explanations of the symbolism of everything that was on the table. Now, just to be clear, this did not replace going to Mass as a family, but rather was to help us better understand the celebration of passover from the Old Testament and my parents would connect it to the passover of the Last Supper and Christ as the paschal lamb.

We would have:
bitter herbs dipped in salt water -for the bitterness of slavery and for the tears of the Israelites weeping for those killed by the plagues
unlevened bread - in memory of the unleavened bread which the Jews ate when they were freed from Egypt, and obviously linked to the unlevened bread of the last supper
boiled eggs - the egg represents the pilgrimage sacrifice
waldorf salad - mixture of fruit, nuts, and spices which is supposed to represent the mortar the Jews made during the times of slavery in Egypt
Greens - parsley or watercress, used as a token of gratitude to God for the products of the earth.

We'd also set a place at the table for Elijah.

This is one of those small 't' traditions from my childhood that in reflecting upon I realize has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the Faith.

Deacon Jim said...

- Lamb with garlic cloves as noted above.
- Boiled potatoes quartered, skin on, butter and dill
- Lebanese salad like Tabouleh (which has mint in it)
- Skip the fake mint jelly stuff
- The Polish cucumber salad sounds, and is great. It's called mizeria.
- If you serve several salads skip a separate veggie.
- If you want a veggie, boiled carrots. Once cooked drain and let the watter steam off. In a small frying pan melt butter and toss in a few tablespoons of bread crumbs (like Progresso Plain) and lightly brown. Toss the carrots and bread crumbs together.

Dessert - a selection of teas and light cookies - Italian type perhaps.

Good luck.

Jackie said...

Fr. Fox,

Other suggestions that go well with both Ham and Lamb (who doesn't like lamb) - Mint Jelly is a must particularly if you made the lamb with rosemary. I always use garlic (because it goes with everything except oatmeal and chocolate cake)

You can also add a hint of garlic to the mashed potatos by adding a clove or two into the water while boiling the potatoes and just mashed it in with them when you go. (Also, you can add cheese or sour cream in addition to the mild to add a little richness to them)

Have a GREAT time - what a wonderful idea for you all to be together on the night the priesthood was instituted!!

Anonymous said...

Re the fake mint jelly - my mother used to chop mint and add red vinegar and hot water to the chopped mint - lovely!

No one has mentioned the best part of a roast dinner - gravy!

If you par boil the potatoes and then scrape them with a fork before putting them into the baking dish, they will have a lovely crisp outer and mushy inner.


and also with you said...

One of my favorite holiday side dishes is noodle kugel. There are a gazillion recipes online, this one looked kinda like my mother's recipe:,1935,158174-238192,00.html

Speaking of Jewish foods, aren't lamb and ham kind of like matter and anti-matter? Kosher and pure trayf?

Father Martin Fox said...

Fr Kyle:

You are hereby invited!

And also with you:

I wasn't concerned about being kosher.

and also with you said...

Oh, of course not. But I was trying to figure out why I never had kugel with ham, and then it made sense--ham not being a typical Jewish food!

Anonymous said...

Green peas are de rigeur with lamb. (And a tiny echo of mint in them is wonderful.)
Since there is NO better gravy that that made with the pan drippings from lamb, I'd recommend something simple with white potatoes (mashed, roasted new, boiled...) or a really simple white rive (maybe with msucrooms and slivered almonds,) to take advantage of the gravy.

If you go with ham, a baked casserole of sweet potatoes, carrots and apples is realy comfort food, and will stick to your ribs through the long fast.

Anna B said...

I agree on the roasted leg of lamb with garlic cloves. With good quality meat you don't need a sauce/gravy. Gratin dauphinois/potato gratin is very good with lamb, but may be tiring to make for that many people. Roasted, fried or mashed potatoes would also be good. WE ususally have green beans with lamb. I just boil them a few minutes and let some butter melt on top of them. Maybe a green sallad on the side.

dpt said...

Great tradition and ministry to revive father.

We so very much need our priests to strong in a Christian challenge and support us in living the Gospel of Life.


Anonymous said...

Being an Irish girl there is only one thing to serve with ham and that is cabbage, which should be cooked in the water used to cook the ham, chop and serve with butter and salt and pepper. It's a great idea to add a couple of spoons of dijon mustard to the mash spuds to serve with it! Lamb needs either roast spuds done in goose fat with rst car & parsnip or if you want something lighter try minted garden peas and baby new spuds again plenty of butter and salt and pepper!
good luck!

Unknown said...

We're having this tonight! Along with the lamb our family tradition is to also serve Yorkshire Pudding,sweet & sour red cabbage, Cheese Souffle , and brown sugar/orange carrots. It's a family favorite.