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Passover Lamb with Pickled Cherries (lamb leg)

Prep Time

    •    Prep and cook time: 2 hours & 15 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 4-6


For the pickled cherries:

    •    1 bay leaf
    •    1 cup water
    •    1 star anise pod
    •    1 tbsp mustard seeds
    •    1 small cinnamon stick
    •    6 garlic cloves, crushed
    •    1 cup apple cider vinegar
    •    1 pound bing cherries, pitted
    •    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    •    1 jalapeño, thinly sliced crosswise
    •    one 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

For the lamb:

    •    pepper
    •    kosher salt
    •    2 tbsps minced garlic
    •    2 tbsps minced thyme
    •    2 tbsps minced rosemary
    •    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    •    one 4 1/2-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb, at room temperature (shank end; hip bone removed)


  1. Make the cherries: In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the cherries and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool completely, then add the cherries and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Drain the cherries and transfer to a bowl; discard the brine.

  2. Meanwhile, make the lamb: Preheat the oven to 400° and set a rack on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the garlic, rosemary and thyme. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. Rub the garlic-herb oil all over the lamb and transfer it to the rack.

  3. Roast the lamb for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 130°. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Carve the lamb and serve with the pickled cherries.


    •    The drained pickled cherries can be refrigerated overnight.

    •    If you can find it, try using milk-fed lamb that's about eight weeks old. The legs will be very small (a few pounds), but do several and cook them for a little less time. If you are using spring lamb, don't go for anything older than three-to-five months, born in late winter or early spring. These should weigh about 4 pounds with the aitch bone and shank off.

This great family recipe is thanks to Food & Wine Recipes at


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