Lamb Kleftiko

I decided upon this Greek dish to use up some of the lamb I keep forgetting about. Kleftiko, apparently, means stolen lamb. It would be stolen from the flock then cooked in a hole in the ground and covered with so much mud so the steam would not give the thief away.

I did enjoy this but I would cook the lamb differently if I did it again. The potatoes were amazing. Here’s the BBC Good Food recipe.

Crush together 6 garlic cloves and a good couple of pinches of salt. Add roughly chopped rosemary, oregano (I only had dried), the zest of a lemon, a pinch of ground cinnamon and some black pepper. Give it another crush. Stir through some olive oil.

Make slits with a sharp knife in a leg of lamb. Rub the paste all over, pushing it into the holes. Squeeze lemon juice all over, cover and leave to marinate (overnight if possible).

Take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook it. Preheat the oven to 140ºc (fan). I’d probably recommend 160º and possibly brown it first, or maybe just cook it for a lot longer.

In a roasting dish, lay a long strip of foil lengthways, then a long strip widthways. Do the same with baking parchment. Pop quartered potatoes into the dish. Pour over the remaining marinade & throw in a few bay leaves then place the lamb on top. Cook for about 4 hours (but probably at least 5).

Increase the temperature to 200ºC and unwrap the foil and parchment. Baste the lamb with it’s juices then cook for another 30-40 minutes (less if you cook it for longer in the foil. Remove the lamb from the pan and cover in foil and leave to rest.

Give the potatoes a toss, season with salt and cook for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together Greek yoghurt, lemon juice, chopped mint & some salt.

In a bowl, lay some spinach, grated carrot, parsley, sliced red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, deseeded sliced cucumber and halved kalamata olives. Drizzle with a dressing of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and seasoning.


The lamb was nice and tasty but wasn’t as juicy and tender as when I cooked the other leg. The crunch on the potato skins, along with the fact that they cooked under the lamb really took them up a level.

I managed to make this in between sleeping, cleaning, sleeping, watching Sleepy Hollow and sleeping again.

This was dinner… 20th October 2013.


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