The presence of lamb meat in meals related to important religious events, is a phenomenon that has its origins in ancient animal sacrificing rituals. In the Jewish religion, as in the Christian religion, the lamb has a very important and symbolic place. For the first, it is linked with the lamb sacrifice during Pessa’h (The way through) or Passover. For the second, the tradition is linked with the sacrifice Abraham offered to God and symbolicaly with Jesus’ death – Christians also refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”. Finally for Muslims the tradition is also linked with Abraham’s lamb sacrifice and during the Islamic holidays, lamb has its special place on the table too and extra care is being given in its weight, condition and preparation before consumption.
Thus, the roast lamb tradition appeared and still exists in the Easter table for symbolical reasons and as a proof of staying in touch with the ancient customs.
Let’s have a look now in the different traditions!
In Greece, the tradition of having lamb (or goat) meat in the Easter table is still very present. The Easter lamb is called Πασχαλινό αρνί (Paschalino arni) in Greece and depending on the region, various recipes and preparation methods exist. The most popular is the αρνί στη σούβλα (arni sti souvla) which means spit-roasting lamb and its preparation takes place a day before roasting or early in the morning of Easter Sunday. In coastal areas or in the majority of islands, most popular is the αρνί στο φούρνο (arni sto fourno) or αρνί στη γάστρα (arni sti gastra) which means lamb cooked in the over or the hull accompagned with potatoes and herbes or even stuffed.
In France, you will be able to taste l’agneau de pâques in different delicious versions too! The two most popular are the carré d’agneau aux herbes which is baked in the oven with a fine mix of herbes and olive oil and the navarin d’agneau which is slow cooked with different vegetables and herbes in a pot.
In Italy, they have cosciotto di agnello al forno or agnello al forno alla sarda among other recipes for the Easter Sunday. For the first recipe just rosmary, thyme and olive oil can create miracles and for the second the key ingredients are garlic and sage!
And in your country? In your region? Do you eat lamb on Easter Sunday? If yes, how do you call it?
Have a nice weekend and always delicious discoveries!
Written by Katerina Palamioti, Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.
Lamb recipes by Akis Petretzikis http://bit.ly/2oTbcQQ (Accessed: 07/04/2017)
Lamb recipes by Giallo Zafferano http://bit.ly/2oPi2K0 (Accessed: 07/04/2017)
Easter lamb recipes by Marmitton.org http://bit.ly/2oTfyaC (Accessed: 07/04/2017)