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Easter Feast

An Easter feast of epic proportions! Enjoy my Middle-Eastern-inspired take on a classic Easter meal.

Easter Feast 1

Welcome to the Lockdown Chow Down.

Join me (almost) daily as we reconnect with one of life’s most simple pleasures, food!

This recipe can be viewed as a cook along on the Culinary Cartel Instagram, by clicking here, or by viewing the “Easter Feast ”  highlight on Instagram stories.

As lockdown continues to separate us from our families Easter is going to look a little different this year. There won’t be tables groaning with food and surrounded by extended family. Lockdown has really taught me the value of friends and family, so even if it’s just going to be Easter for two this year, make it something special. 

Having just finished a contract in the middle east, and being surrounded by a truly multicultural team, I was really excited to bring a few of the heady spices and exotic flavourings found in the region into my menu. Most speciality tea shops and asian supermarkets will sell dried rose petals. These are a fantastic garnish for your meal, but completely optional if you can’t find them. 

You can pick your hero main here, choosing either a slow cooked Persian Lamb Shank (perfect for 2 hungry people) or replace this with my Crispy Turkish Börek and make the meal vegetarian. Keep reading to find out how to adapt the whole spread to fully vegan! Our hero mains are served alongside Green Hummus, Iranian Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce, Sticky Marinated Aubergine and Flatbreads. I have covered my three ingredient flatbreads in a previous post. Simply click here for the recipe.

This meal will generously serve 2 very hungry adults, and you probably will have some food leftover. Should you wish to serve 4, you can simply double the mains recipes or cook both the börek and a slightly larger shank. 

Vegan Adaptations

 My Turkish Börek is already naturally vegan and aside from the lamb, only the Iranian Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce and optional Flatbreads contain dairy. Should you be making the börek and the sides below, simply roast your garlic for the green hummus with the börek, until it’s gooey. For the Iranian Tzatziki and flatbreads, simply sub the dairy yogurt for coconut or soy yogurt and you are good to go. 

Prep Suggestions: The aubergine side really shines the longer it is left to marinate. If you have time, you can complete this recipe the day before. The Marinated Aubergine will happily keep for 3 days in the fridge. The Flatbreads, if you decide to serve them, can also be made in advance, wrapped tightly in foil and stored in the fridge. To reheat them simply pop them into the oven in tin foil to reheat for 5-10 minutes. If you are making the börek I would also roast the butternut and cook the onions the day before to make things a bit easier. 

On the day of serving start by preparing your lamb or börek. When those go into the oven make your aubergine first, if you didn’t manage it the day before, then make your Iranian Yogurt Sauce, and Green Hummus. 

If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel and #lockdownchowdown on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Happy cooking!

Easter Feast 2

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I adjust this feast to feed more people?

This feast feeds two people very generously. To feed four people you can purchase two shanks or a small leg of lamb, and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Alternatively you can make both the lamb and Crispy Turkish Borek, and together these will happily feed four. For larger numbers simply double the quantities in the ingredients list. 

Is there a meat free alternative to the Persian Lamb?

This feast was designed to accommodate both meat and plant lovers.
For vegetarians:
The lamb main can be replaced with the Crispy Turkish Borek. This is served alongside the accompaniments below which are vegetarian. To make the accompaniments vegan simply replace the dairy in the tzatziki and flatbreads for coconut or soy yogurt. 

Easter Feast 3
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delicious quick roast lamb recipe easter feast

Easter Feast


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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 3Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

Units

For the lamb

  • 2 large onions, sliced (optional)
  • 1 large lamb shank (about 750-850g)
  • 40g soft butter
  • 1 Tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 Tbsp coriander, ground
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Cumin Salt

  • 2 Tbsp flaked sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground

Green Hummus

  • 1 cup shelled edamame or green peas
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp tahini, or nut butter (optional)

Iranian Cucumber And Yogurt Sauce

Makes 1 cup

  • 3/4 cup greek yoghurt (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeds removed with a teaspoon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint
  • 1/4 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, for garnish
  • dried rose petals for garnish (optional)

Marinated Aubergine

  • 300g aubergine, sliced into 1 cm rounds (or use baby aubergine and cut them in half)
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds (you can replace this for any nuts you have at hand)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Prepare the lamb by mixing the butter, spices and thyme together to form a thick paste.
  3. Using a sharp knife lightly score the lamb shank, about 3mm deep, cutting a little deeper through any very fatty sections. This will help the fat render off as the shank roasts.
  4. Smear the compound butter all over the lamb, pressing it deeply into the cuts.
  5. Scatter the sliced onions (if using) over the base of a small roasting tray and place the lamb on top. This step helps to perfume the lamb, keeping it moist and stopping it from sticking to the base.
  6. Wrap the garlic for the green hummus in foil and pop this into the roasting tray with the lamb.
  7.  Add ¼ cup of water into the roasting tray, cover the lamb in foil and roast for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. This is a great time to make your Iranian Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce, and Marinated Aubergines.
  9. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the garlic, and set it aside. Add a little more water to the tray, re-cover the lamb and roast for a further hour, until the meat begins to soften. Each shank will vary slightly in size so your cooking times may vary slightly to mine. However, don’t be too concerned as it’s very hard to overcook a lamb at 150C.
  10. While the lamb cooks make the green hummus. Add the edamame, tahini, mint, roasted garlic, lemon zest and juice to a food processor or blender. Squeeze the slow roasted garlic out of its skin and add it to the other ingredients. Pulse the mixture with 2 Tbsp water until it forms a well-combined chunky puree. Season the green hummus to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Once the lamb begins to soften and pull away from the shank bone (usually after 2,5-3 hours, but sometimes longer), remove the foil, turn the oven to 180C and roast the lamb for a further 20-30 minutes to crisp the skin. Should your lamb need a little longer don’t worry too much, simply re-cover it, add a little bit more water to the pan and return it to the oven until the meat is literally falling off the bone. Once the lamb has cooked, switch off the oven and allow it to rest while you set the table and finish off any last side dishes.
  12. Once ready to serve, spread the green hummus over a platter and top it with the hot Persian Lamb. Serve immediately.

Iranian Cucumber And Yogurt Sauce

  1. Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater. Gather the cucumber in your hands and squeeze hard a few times to remove excess water.
  2. Add the cucumber to a bowl with the mint, yoghurt and minced garlic. Mix everything together and season the yoghurt with salt to taste.
  3. Set the sauce aside until serving, along with the walnuts and rose for garnishing.
  4. Once ready to serve, spoon the sauce into a dish and scatter over dried rose petals and chopped walnuts.

Marinated Aubergine

Serves 2-3 generously, as a side dish

  1. As your aubergine needs time to cool to room temperature and soak up the marinade, it’s best to make this as early as you can, or you can even make it the night before.
  2. Place your aubergine slices into a colander and sprinkle generously with fine salt to draw out any bitter juices. Leave the aubergine on a draining board for 10 minutes, before patting them dry and wiping off any excess salt with kitchen paper.
  3. Preheat the grill pan or frying pan over high heat.
  4. Brush the aubergine with a little olive oil and grill for 5-10 minutes, or until golden on each side. Once golden, pop them in a baking dish and into the oven with the börek or lamb for 30 minutes to cook through and soften.
  5. To make the marinade put the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, nuts, sugar and bay leaf into a clean bowl. Give the mixture a whisk with a fork, then season to taste before adding in the chilli flakes.
  6. Once gooey and soft, remove the aubergines from the oven, and while still hot, pour over the marinade and allow to cool to room temperature. Set the aubergines aside to marinate for at least 40 minutes (and ideally overnight). While marinading give the aubergines a few turns to evenly saturate them in the dressing.
  • Prep Time: 45 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 Hours
  • Category: Special Occasions
  • Cuisine: Middle-Eastern
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