Screen Your Hearing By Telephone. Free for AARP Members for a limited time. Learn More

Savoring Springtime With Roasted Leg of Lamb

In her new book, 'The Chew' cohost Carla Hall embraces comfort foods from every culture

Carla Hall from The Chew

"Chew" chef Carla Hall recalls her grandmother’s Easter dinner and serves up a comforting meal — with a few more spices — of her own. — Frances Janisch

En español | Every culture has its own comfort food — food that feels warm and nurturing to the soul. I personally attach a lot of memories to foods that I remember from growing up in Nashville, Tennessee.

My grandmother would host dinner every Easter Sunday, and we'd gather at her home — all of my aunts and uncles and cousins on my mother's side, and occasionally some really good family friends.

Subscribe to the AARP Health Newsletter

My grandmother would serve a roast with green beans and potatoes and corn bread, and tons of desserts, because that's what a Southern grandmother does. I love making a lamb roast, but I like to add Greek spices — fennel and cinnamon and plenty of garlic. That's the great thing about spices. You can travel anywhere in the world just by adding different spices to a dish. Say you have a chicken with milk gravy; if you take out the milk and add paprika and sour cream, you could be in Hungary. Or if you add cream and wine and Dijon mustard, you could be in France.

Comfort food is whatever is familiar. It's about sharing a meal. At the end of the day, we're all very similar.

Roasted Leg of Lamb With Fennel, Recipes by Carla Hall

Hall enjoys making roasted lamb with fennel, cinnamon and plenty of garlic. — Kat Teutsch (Food Stylist: Mariana Velasquez; Prop Stylist: Sarah Cave)

Roasted Leg of Lamb With Fennel

Serves 10

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
  • 10 garlic cloves: 4 minced, 6 smashed
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4-1/2-pound butterflied boneless leg of lamb
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalk chopped and bulb sliced thinly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  1. In a small bowl, combine the oil, oregano, mint, cinnamon, fennel seeds, minced garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub over the lamb, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Scatter the onions, fennel bulb and stalk, bay leaves and smashed garlic in a roasting pan; season with salt and pepper. Place a rack over the vegetables. Add the stock to the pan. Set the lamb on the rack and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue roasting until the lamb registers 150°F. Discard the bay leaves. Let the lamb rest for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Nutrients per serving: 390 calories, 41g protein, 6g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 22g fat, 137mg cholesterol, 492mg sodium

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Serves 10

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

In a bowl, stir together the cucumber, yogurt, sour cream, garlic, cumin and lime zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least 1 hour or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Stir well before serving.

Nutrients per serving: 37 calories, 1g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 0.5g fiber, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium

Buttered Tarragon Peas

Serves 10

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are just translucent, about 1 minute. Add the peas, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, until heated through.
  2. Add the chopped tarragon, the thyme, lemon zest, water and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the peas are glazed, about 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with the whole tarragon leaves and serve immediately.

Nutrients per serving: 94 calories, 3g protein, 10g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 99mg sodium

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.

AARP Membership

Discounts & Benefits

    Next Article

    Read This