Two new twists on Easter dinner

03/26/2013 10:03 AM

03/26/2013 10:04 AM

Who says the traditional Easter meal has to be traditional?

We understand that there is good reason for many traditions, particularly when it comes to food. After all, many food traditions earned their place because they are simply delicious. The glazed ham is a fine example. And that’s why we decided not to mess with that part of this spring staple.

We did, however, play around with what our ham is glazed with. We decided to ditch the orange marmalade, brown sugar, pineapple-cherry, and various clove-spiked glazing options. Instead, we took our inspiration from an Asian pantry staple – hoisin sauce. It comes ready-made by the jar, usually in the Asian food section of the grocer.

From there, we stirred in a few extras to jazz it up, then used it as a simple glaze. In keeping with the theme, we served the ham with a light slaw made from Napa cabbage and snow peas dressed with a light vinaigrette. While our ham was on the large size, if you don’t need one quite so big, you can always use any extra glaze as a sauce alongside the ham.

A minty Easter lamb

The classic Easter or spring lamb often is served with mint jelly. And that’s fine, assuming you want to play it safe.

We decided to flip things around. Actually, we didn’t so much as flip the dish as turn it inside out. Rather than relegate the mint to a condiment added at the table, we used it to create a vibrant pesto, which we then stuffed in a leg of lamb so it could infuse the meat with flavor during roasting.

And to stand in for the sweet and sour flavors of the mint sauce, we braised red cabbage right under the lamb. The result is an intensely meaty, flavorful accompaniment. If you still want a minty sauce, the reserved pesto can be thinned with olive oil, then drizzled over each serving.

The whole roast can be prepped ahead of time, then refrigerated overnight. The day of the dinner, just pop the whole roasting pan in the oven and you’re good to go. If your cabbage or lamb begins to overbrown during roasting, just tent the pan with foil.

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