Roast Lamb with Potatoes

(Arni Psito me Patates)

On the Greek mainland, lamb and kid are typically spit-roasted; on the islands, however, they're more often stuffed and roasted whole (always until well-done) in communal ovens. Greek-Americans continue both traditions, although oven-roasting is more practical.

Roast Lamb with Potatoes
This traditional Greek dish is unfailingly served on Easter Sunday, though it's delicious any time of year.
Yield: serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1-2 heads garlic (about 18 cloves), separated into cloves and peeled
  • 3 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 34 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 14 cups red wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-lb.) leg of lamb, bone in, trimmed of excess fat
  • 6 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into sixths

Instructions

  1. Finely chop 8 cloves of the garlic and place in a pan large enough to hold lamb. Add 2 tbsp. of the oregano, 2 tbsp. of the rosemary, 6 tbsp. of the oil, 1 cup of the lemon juice, wine, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. Place lamb in marinade, turning to coat well on all sides, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Crush 6 cloves of the garlic and remaining 1 tbsp. oregano and 1 tbsp. rosemary together with a mortar and pestle (or mince them finely together). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat oven to 375˚. Remove lamb from marinade, discard marinade, and pierce lamb in 8–10 places with a paring knife. Rub garlic–herb mixture over lamb, pressing it into incisions with your fingers, then coat surface of lamb with about 3 tbsp. of the oil.
  4. Mix remaining 3 tbsp. oil and 1 cup lemon juice together in a bowl. Crush remaining 4 cloves of garlic, place in a large roasting pan, and add potatoes. Place lamb on top of potatoes. Roast, frequently basting lamb with lemon juice mixture, and occasionally turning potatoes and basting them with pan juices, for 1 hour and 45 minutes for well-done. Turn off oven. Remove lamb and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes, keeping potatoes warm in oven until you are ready to carve and serve lamb.