OUICOOK: French Easter Tradition

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Easter in French is known as “Pâques”. Most holidays in France center around food and Easter is no different. Why not celebrate this Easter with a French flair? Let’s explore a traditional French Easter meal. The French traditionally eat lamb (agneau) on Easter with yummy Potatoes Dauphinoise, served with a in season vegetable such as asparagus.

Let’s begin with the main course – lamb. Leg of lamb with bone-in is called a gigot or a boneless leg or shoulder (épaule).

Leg of Lamb – Gigot d’agneau

Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins | Total time: 55 mins | For 8 to 10 people

1 leg of milk-fed lamb, 1.5 to 2 kg
A few cloves of garlic in the shirt or a few stalks of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper


  1. Caress the lamb with a brush dipped in oil.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme and rosemary
  3. Arrange in a baking dish surrounded by garlic cloves
  4. Bake at 200 – 230°C. Allow 20 to 25 minutes per kilo
  5. Once cooked, leave to rest for a good quarter of an hour with the oven turned off.
  6. Before serving, deglaze the juice from the meat.

Gratin Dauphinois

Le Gratin Dauphinois is the French method of baking potatoes in milk, cream, and cheese. This delicious side dish is a crowd pleaser and goes perfectly with Lamb.

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 95 mins | Total: 105 mins | Servings: 6 to 8 servings

2 pounds baking potatoes,
peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
5 cups whole milk
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups crème fraiche (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter,
softened 2/3 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the potatoes, milk, and garlic to a gentle simmer.
  2. Continue to cook the potatoes, gently stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, until just tender, about 15 minutes. Be very careful not to overcook them as they need to hold their shape for layering in the pan.
  3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon, taking care not to break the slices.
  5. Drain the milk from the pan and reserve for another use.
  6. Add the heavy cream, crème fraiche or sour cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the saucepan and whisk to combine.
  7. Gently return the potatoes to the pan.
  8. Heat the potato-cream mixture to barely a simmer (a few bubbles are fine but no more) for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are very tender but not falling apart.
  9. Butter a large baking dish. Transfer the potatoes to the baking dish with a slotted spoon, layering them without breaking them up too much.
  10. Cover with the cream from the pan.
  11. Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese over the potatoes (if using).
  12. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are golden brown on top and the cream is mostly absorbed, about 50 minutes.

To accompany this exquisite leg of lamb and potatoes, pair them with Asparagus and Egg.

Asparagus and Egg


1 Bunch of asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.


  1. Place trimmed asparagus in a large sheet pan.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roll the asparagus around to coat each spear in oil, then spread the asparagus in a single layer.
  4. Roast until tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes (10 to 12 minute if your asparagus is thick).
  5. Remove from the oven and drizzle with lemon juice and Parmesan.
  6. Meanwhile, boil the eggs, about 5 minutes for a large-size egg and 4 minutes for a medium-sized egg. Run the eggs under cool water to stop them from overcooking. Peel them and slice horizontally.
  7. Serve the eggs with the asparagus.

Voilà, celebrate Easter like the French! When the children have finished their Easter egg hunt ‘chasses aux oeufs’, it’s time for a delicious meal. Why not try a traditional French Easter meal.

This article was originally published on OuiPlease

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