Easter: Ham Or Lamb?

Not to be outdone by Thanksgiving and Christmas, Easter has its own set of traditional feast foods associated with the holiday. Eggs, chocolate and a celebratory roast of lamb or ham traditionally grace the table for the springtime celebration. 

Lamb is loaded with religious symbolism, and is plentiful and in season after the long winter months. Historically, ham is also a seasonal product. After the fall harvest of both crops and animals, hams were smoked and put up to cure, to be ready for eating in the spring. In the modern world, we’re not quite as beholden to the cycles of the season as we once were. 

So whether we fall into team lamb or team ham is now more a matter of taste and our own family rituals.

Greek Lamb

The Case for Lamb

Both lamb and ham have plenty to offer. Roast an Easter Leg of Lamb with Herbs slowly in the oven, or try a boneless leg, soaked in an Italian Herb Marinade, on the grill. Elegant Mediterranean Grilled Lamb Chops cook more quickly and work well for smaller gatherings.

Either way, you’ll perfume the house with the rich scents of savory meat and piquant herbs. Any leftovers are fabulous stuffed in a ciabatta roll with a slather of tzaziki sauce for lunch after the long weekend.

Ham Works for a Crowd

Ham, too, can offer a focal point for the feast, offering an easy, do-ahead, feed-a-crowd option. Try a sweet and savory Spiced Honey and Black Pepper Glazed Ham or the tart and brightly flavored Citrus Glazed Ham to find a favorite. 

Stir leftovers into a frittata that packs up great for lunches, cook up a pot of Easy Italian Bean and Ham Soup, or chop and toss ham into macaroni and cheese for an easy weeknight supper.

Elizabeth Winslow is a writer, food blogger, culinary instructor and entrepreneur in Austin, Texas. She is a regular contributor to Edible Austin and creates compelling content for brands both large and small. She has an M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio and teaches cooking classes with Kitchen Underground.