Cypriot Cuisine

Slow-cooked oven-baked lamb (kleftiko)

Cuisine: Cypriot Prep time: 15 min(s) Cooking time: 4 hr(s) Created by Nick Kastrappi

In keeping with the laid-back nature of cooking outdoors in a fourno, there are no specific quantities in this recipe, meaning you can very easily make it for as many or as few as you need. Work on one lamb forequarter and one large potato for each person and scatter the olive oil, herbs, garlic and juice as liberally as you like.


lamb forequarter pieces
potatoes, peeled and halved if large
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
rosemary leaves
oregano leaves
whole unpeeled garlic cloves
lemon juice
250 ml (1 cup) water
Greek salad, to serve


Level of difficulty: easy
Season: Winter

To preheat a fourno (wood-fired oven), light it 2–3 hours before cooking, so the coals burn down to embers and the heat is radiant at about 350°C. If you like meat browned, make sure the oven is hotter at the start (see note).

Place the lamb in a roasting pan. Push the potato in and around meat. Season with the salt and pepper, then drizzle generously with the olive oil. Scatter over the herbs and garlic, then squeeze lemon juice over the meat and add the water. Cover and seal tightly with foil. Roast for 4 hours.

Serve with Greek salad.

While this dish is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven, you can also use a conventional oven preheated to 150°C. Increase the cooking time to 5 hours.

SBS cook’s notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55–60 g, unless specified.  

06 May 2013 11:08 AEST
Sandeep Nambiar
Too wet
From the moment I watched this dish being cooked on SBS Food, I knew I had to make it. And yesterday I cooked this dish, in a conventional oven. Unfortunately when I took the foil off after 5 hours of baking, the pan was full of liquid. Can anyone please tell me what I did wrong. I followed the recipe to the tee. I must mention the kids loved it so much that they had seconds.

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