Kleftiko recipe (oven-baked lamb)
- Cuisine: Greek
The name Kleftiko comes from the fact that the meat is baked in a sealed oven and hence retains its cooking juices. (A modern adaption of this dish is to bake the lamb in baking paper or foil, to obtain a similar effect.) The dish got its name from the word “kleftis” which means “robber” – due to the fact that mountain brigands would cook stolen meat in hidden, underground ovens.
3-4 kg lamb, cut into large pieces (The lamb in this recipe can be any cut but Soteroulla recommends square cut shoulder or neck as these make for a more tender kleftiko)
1 kg, potatoes peeled and quartered.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper.
2 tsp dried oregano (Greek rigani is best)*
8 fresh bay leaves
1/2 cup oil
*available at Greek and Continental delis and grocery stores
Place lamb and potatoes into two baking trays. Mix together salt, pepper and oregano in a small bowl, sprinkle over lamb and potatoes and toss well, rubbing mixture into the meat. Add bay leaves. Pour in water and oil. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 150°-160° for two hours.
If you’re lucky enough to have a wood-fired oven or fourno, bake it for 3-4 hours… but then again, if you had one, you probably know exactly what to do!
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