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This has been our Easter dinner almost every year since 1993, when I first tried this recipe published in the now defunct Modern Woman magazine. It was contributed by a reader named Helen Pappas, who suggests to readers that they use dried oregano instead of fresh for a more authentic Greek flavour. The potatoes alone are so delicious that I always have to cook extra and even then, I seldom have leftovers!
- If the lamb is frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Bring the meat to room temperature before roasting.
- If the lamb is fatty, trim the thick fat but leave a thin layer.
- Rub 1 tablespoon of oil over the entire surface of the lamb, then sprinkle the whole surface with 2 teaspoons oregano and a generous grinding of pepper.
- Slice 4 garlic cloves into 16 slivers.
- Using the tip of a small knife, make 16 1/2"-deep slits in the lamb and insert the slivers of garlic into the slits.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small measuring cup, whisk together the remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 2 teaspoons oregano, remaining 4 garlic cloves (finely minced), 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, water and lemon juice.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into 1" cubes (no larger or they won't cook thoroughly.).
- While you are working, put the cubed potatoes immediately into cold water to prevent them from turning brown.
- Drain the potatoes and place in a large covered roasting pan.
- Toss with the lemon juice mixture.
- Lightly sprinkle the entire surface of the lamb with salt, then set the lamb on the potatoes, rounded side down.
- Roast the lamb uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Then turn it over, cover, and continue to roast for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours. I like my lamb well done so I go for the longer time.
- Stir the potatoes occasionally and if they stick to the pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water to loosen them.
- Remove the lamb to a cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
- Keep the potatoes warm in the oven until ready to serve.