Visiting friends usually means finding yourself sharing cake and coffee amongst a centerpiece of overflowing, grapefruit-sized oranges gleaning from a warmer Spanish climate. A tradition owning itself to a time when merchants would return to Norway in the Spring with the year’s first harvest from Southern Europe. It’s a recently new tradition, very much like most of the traditions practiced today. From yellow adornments to colorful eggs to chocolate and the Sunday meal. Most borrowed, all evolved. History, combining a variety of faiths and practices, to today’s more global and commercial influences have all contributed to the celebrations surrounding Easter, whether practiced religiously or not.Serving lamb, for instance, is not an old tradition. For the long, dark Norwegian winters delay the gestation period for sheep, meaning lambs are not large enough to be ready by Easter. The lamb is either imported or from last year’s yield. Nonetheless, lamb is important to the table today. Often served on the bone, it is roasted with simple herbs and seasonings.
It’s a dish I am more than happy to indulge myself in….before, during and after Påske. And as we will be travelling for the holidays, we decided to enjoy an early lamb meal in our home, with garlicky and creamy potato gratin and sautéed fennel on the side. Keeping to the simple and rustic, I accompanied our lamb with an herb and citrus sauce, inspired by the copious amounts of oranges found everywhere. You want to make the most out of them, because oranges, like a timely, reoccurring guest just passing through, will not be outstaying their welcome.
Påske Lamb with Orange & Dill Sauce
- Leg of lamb, bone on
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed with back of knife, skins left on
- Sprigs of rosemary
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
Dill & Orange Sauce
- ¼ cup fresh dill, coursely chopped
- 1 cup parsley, coursley chopped
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- ½ cup olive oil
- Zest of 1 orange
- 4 Tb freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
Allow the lamb to sit at room temperature for about an hour before roasting.
Preheat the oven to 150ºC /300ºF. Place the lamb in a roasting tin and pat the lamb dry. Make shallow incisions over it with a sharp knife. Place the garlic cloves and small sprigs of rosemary in the incisions. Drizzle oil over the lamb and liberally season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 65-70ºC for rare to medium or up to 76ºC for well-done, about 2-3 hours. Take it out of the oven and let the meat rest 15 minutes before carving (the internal temperature will increase slightly while resting, so take this into account for how well you wish to cook the meat).
To prepare the dill and orange sauce, mix the orange and lemon juice with the garlic and salt in a small serving bowl. Add in the chopped herbs and orange zest. Slowly pour in the oil and gently stir with a fork. Let the sauce sit a bit so the flavors can incorporate before serving with the lamb.
Source: Norwegian Folk Museum