Lamb kleftico (kleftiko)
- August 2018
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 4 hours 55 min, plus marinating and resting
Lamb kleftico (kleftiko) is a traditional Greek dish. The lamb is slow cooked until meltingly tender and served on a bed of potatoes – it’s a recipe worthy of a proper family feast.
- 42.9g (14.5g saturated)
- 50.3g (10.6g sugars)
- 3 anchovy fillets in oil (available from Waitrose)
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp capers in brine, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1.8kg bone-in leg of British lamb
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- Fresh oregano and thyme leaves to garnish
For the potatoes
- Olive oil for frying
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1.25kg maris piper potatoes
- 120g sun-blush tomatoes
- 150g pitted green olives (available from Morrisons), chopped
- 350ml hot chicken stock
- 1 lemon, halved
- Put the anchovies, 3 tbsp olive oil, capers, dried herbs, bay leaves, garlic, lemon zest and juice and plenty of salt and ground black pepper in a food processor, then whizz until smooth. (Alternatively, use a stick blender in a jug or pound in a pestle and mortar.) Spoon the mixture onto the lamb and rub it all over the meat. Leave to marinate in a large food bag or on a tray, covered, for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. For the potatoes, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions over a gentle heat for 15 minutes or until soft and lightly caramelised.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes as thinly as possible (using a mandoline, if you have one), then toss with the onions, tomatoes and olives. Tip into a big roasting tin (about 6cm longer than the leg of lamb) pour over the stock, squeeze over the lemon halves and add the squeezed-out shells to the tin. Sit the lamb on top, making sure all the marinade stays with it. Cover with a sheet of baking paper, then a layer of foil.
- Roast for 4½ hours, remove the foil and baking paper and drizzle over the honey, then return to the oven, uncovered, for
15 minutes to brown. Remove the lamb from the tin and set aside on a board or platter to rest. Return the tin with the potatoes to the oven for 10 minutes or until golden and lightly crisped.
- Sit the lamb on top of the potatoes, scatter with fresh oregano and thyme, spoon over the cooking juices, then serve with seasonal greens.
If you’re not a fan of anchovies, replace them in the marinade with an extra tablespoon of capers.
Marinate the lamb up to 2 days ahead, cover and keep in the fridge. You’ll need to bring the lamb back to room temperature before roasting (allow at least 1-2 hours).
Rich Greek reds made from the xinomavro grape suit kleftiko well, as does California’s gutsy red zinfandel.
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