Authentic Greek Lamb Kleftiko


Authentic Greek slow roast lamb kleftiko
Lamb kleftiko ready for oven!
Completely forgot to take pictures once it was done and
was also blinded by hunger because it took forever.

Lots of cuisines have something called a robber's roast or similar. At least the Finnish and Greek cuisines. It is a dish that is cooked in a pit in the ground covering the stolen piece of meat and slowly cooking it over several hours.

I'm a very law abiding citizen so I paid for the leg. The only thing I've ever stolen in my life is a licorice bar when I was about 5. I was so burdened by guilt I had to confess to my parents before I even ate the bloody thing. My parents made me go back to the store, apologize and return the bar or maybe I paid for it. I'm not sure it was fit for returning after all the clutching in my sweaty distressed fist and tears shed over it, I can't remember. It was the shop my granddad used to run when my mum was a kid, so it was also a case of family honour. So after that I pretty much abandoned my criminal ways and have stayed on the straight and narrow ever since.

I did use to smuggle bottles of booze into music festivals with my sister in the flared legs of our jeans, thank God for the 70's revival, but other than that, not so criminal. I swear that's why people go for ecstasy and all that shit nowadays, you can't fit an honest bottle of vodka anywhere in these silly skinny jeans.

Anyway this kleftiko thing, stolen or paid for, is a wonderful way to fill your house with a homely smell of slow roasting meat and feed your men with a massive slab of tender animal flesh. YAM.

It's also a one pot meal, so there is no need to cook anything else. I did do some rice though because husband would be very shaken if there was lamb without rice and of course a big lovely Greek salad mainly for my own benefit.

I think my leg was from a 20 year old goat or something, it took forever to cook, but the result was great. The potatoes were also lovely.

Recipe: Authentic Greek Lamb Kleftiko

For the lamb
A leg of lamb, about 2kg
2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
4 large cloves of garlic (or 6-8 small)
100ml olive oil
1.5 tsp of salt
zest and juice of two lemons
black pepper

For the veg
1.2 kg potatoes
6-8 shallots
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
black pepper
3 bayleaves

200 ml white wine
200 ml lamb stock
zest of a lemon

If you can, marinade the lamb the night before. First crush the garlic and chop the herbs. Mix in with oil, lemon, salt and pepper.

Stab the leg with a sharp knife to create deep holes on both sides of the leg evenly. Methodically rub the marinade pushing it deep into the holes with your fingers. Yes, it is a bit erotic. Wrap the leg tightly in clingfilm (!) and place in the fridge overnight.

Next day take it out 1 hour before you plan to put it in the oven.

Heat your oven to 160C.

Peel and cut your potatoes into chunks or thick slices. peel the shallots and chop the herbs, Place in a bowl. drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Take a large roasting tray and cover first with two long sheets of kitchen foil forming a cross, or I actually used three long pieces to make sure I can wrap it all around the leg. Then take two long sheets of baking paper again placing them so that they form a cross. Pour the potatoes and onions onto the roasting tray and spread evenly, add the bay leaves on top.

Place the lamb leg on top pouring all the marinade on top also. Pour in the wine, and lamb stock, drizzle with olive oil and zest one lemon on top.

Wrap the baking paper and the foil around the leg leaving some space on top for steam but making sure it's closed everywhere. Place in the oven and bake for 4.5 - 5 hours until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Up the oven temp to 200C. Take the lamb out of oven and place the leg on a separate roasting tray pouring the liquid on top. Leave the drained potatoes on the other tray. Put both trays back to oven and let the lamb leg get some colour and the potatoes to crisp up and get nice and brown around the edges turning them over halfway through. This should take about 45 minutes.

This is not fast food, but if you're still alive at the end, it is worth it.

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