Lamb kleftiko

Lamb kleftiko

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(42 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 5 hrs, 20 mins plus overnight marinating

More effort

Serves 6

Seal a leg of lamb in a parcel then roast it long and slow with garlic, lemon and herbs, and potatoes to soak up the delicious juices

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal729
  • fat41g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs33g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre4g
  • protein57g
  • salt2.3g
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Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped oregano
    Oregano

    Oregano

    or-ee-gar-no

    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
    Rosemary

    Rosemary

    rose-mar-ee

    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • zest 1 lemon and juice of 2
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2kg leg of lamb
  • 1kg Desiree potato, halved or quartered
    Potato

    Potato

    po-tate-oh

    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 5 bay leaves

For the mint yogurt

  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • juice ½ lemon
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • handful mint, shredded
    Mint

    Mint

    mi-nt

    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…

For the Greek-style salad

  • 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100g baby spinach
  • small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
    Parsley

    Parsley

    par-slee

    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 175g cherry tomato, halved
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced
  • 75g black Kalamata olive, stoned and quartered

Method

  1. Crush together the garlic cloves and 1 tsp salt using a pestle and mortar. Add the herbs, lemon zest, cinnamon, some black pepper, crush a little more, then stir through 2 tbsp of the olive oil.

  2. Using a sharp knife, create lots of holes all over the lamb, and rub in the paste, pushing it deep into the holes. Transfer the lamb to a large food bag, pour in the lemon juice and marinate overnight.

  3. The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge 1 hr before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

  4. Lay 2 long pieces of baking parchment on top of 2 long pieces of foil – one widthways, the other lengthways to form a cross. Pop the potatoes in the centre of the parchment and toss with the remaining oil and some seasoning. Bring up the sides of the foil, then pour the marinade from the lamb over the potatoes and throw in the bay leaves. 

  5. Set the lamb on top of the potatoes and scrunch the foil together tightly to completely enclose the lamb. Lift into a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 4½ hrs until very tender.

  6. Remove tin from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Unwrap the parcel and scrunch the foil and parchment under the rim of the tin, baste the lamb with the juices and return to the oven for a further 20 mins until browned. Remove the lamb from the tin, wrap in foil and rest. 

  7. Turn the potatoes over and return to the oven for 30 mins, then season with salt. While the potatoes are cooking, stir together all the ingredients for the yogurt.

  8. Combine the red wine vinegar, oil and some seasoning to make a dressing for the salad. Toss together the remaining salad ingredients, adding the dressing when you’re ready to eat. Serve the lamb with the potatoes and meaty juices, with the salad and yogurt on the side.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Shollis123
20th Sep, 2016
5.05
If I could give this 100 stars I would, it was much simpler to make than I thought and was out of this world delicious. My guests said it was the best lamb and potatoes they had tasted. The potatoes went lovely and crispy and were full of flavour.
Caravan Of Love
17th May, 2016
5.05
I've done this recipe numerous times now for family & friends. It's not let me down once. It really is great! I part boil the potatoes however before I put them with the lamb and let them roast slightly longer in the juices at the end when the lamb is resting. Great recipe and awesome lemony tasting roast potatoes
SammyD120
15th Sep, 2016
Hi there! I am a new cook, and while this may sound very silly, I need to ask as I don't want to mess this amazing recipe up. On the instruction to - "Set the lamb on top of the potatoes and scrunch the foil together tightly to completely enclose the lamb. Lift into a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 4½ hrs until very tender." - Would you put the lamb in the oven in the roasting tin with the roasting tin lid on or off? Thank you!
themightygusset
11th Mar, 2018
5.05
Lid very definitely ON, and sealed with extra tinfoil. The whole idea of Kleftiko is that it was stolen lamb, and roasted slowly in a buried firepit so no hint of cooking smells could leak out. The tighter you can seal everything so that all the juices and flavours are kept in, and the slower you can cook it, the better
AndyTastes's picture
AndyTastes
4th Sep, 2017
off x. the sealed parcel acts as the lid and will steam cook the lamb.
AuroraLondon
24th Apr, 2016
Update from below review. Awful, no one would eat it, pizza ordered. What a waste of several hours of my life and an expensive piece of lamb. I also cook for a living so am not an inexperienced cook. God knows we're I went wrong given the glowing reviews and having eaten sublime kleftico in Greece many times and know what it should taste like but happy for the chef who wrote this recipe to come round and show me what I did wrong! Sorry to be a miserable sod but truly gutted as had such high hopes.
themightygusset
11th Mar, 2018
5.05
Try a cheaper cut of lamb ? I used shoulder and it worked a treat. Part of the "secret" (if there is one) is making sure everything is sealed up really tight. In an ideal world you should not be able to detect any cooking smells. There's a bit of a leap of faith involved, you can't open it up to look at it until right at the end. If you're in any doubt, cook it for longer, properly sealed in, it's not really possible to overcook Kleftiko, the meat just gets softer and more unctuous.
AuroraLondon
24th Apr, 2016
Got this in the oven now. Followed recipe to a T including over night marinading, however, just gone to uncover after 4.5 hours and still raw!! Words can not be printed how I feel right now!! Have put it back in open at 220 degree's for what is supposed to be the final 20 mins for the lamb but seeing as the potatoes are not even soft either, have put another hour on the clock. Not impressed... and can promise you my oven works fine. Annoyed and a hungry family still waiting!!!
AndyTastes's picture
AndyTastes
4th Sep, 2017
4 and a half hours and still raw? Not possible if done correctly. It may just be pinker and juicier than you've had if normally roasting it at a high temperature, be careful not to mistake that for raw meat. Get a meat thermometer and you cant go wrong. x
blandyj
8th Feb, 2017
Nothing could be roasted for 4 1/2 hours and still be raw. This is the perfect time and temperature to have it falling off the bone. Oven setting user error.

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goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
12th Oct, 2018
We're sorry to hear you found the appearance off-putting. This is not a sign the meat has gone off and when cooked the appearance would become nicely browned.
rhianthomas1984
18th Sep, 2018
Can anyone advise how long would you cook this dish for if using 2 lamb shanks please?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
19th Sep, 2018
Thanks for your question. We can't give exact timings without testing but would suggest reducing the first cooking time by an hour or so and leaving the rest as is.
loobsno1
31st Mar, 2018
If I’m using a bigger piece of lamb, nearly 3kg, is it as easy as working out the time using the timing on here so it would mean cooking for around 6 hours? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
9th Apr, 2018
Thanks for your question. It’s a slow cook so should still tenderise in the same amount of time, however it might need 4 ½- 5 hours. In terms of the rest of the ingredients, times the rest of the lamb ingredients by 1.5, then multiply the sides according to how many people you're serving. The dish is to serve 6, so if the 3kg shoulder is to serve 9, I would recommend also upping the sides by a third. Hope that helps!
SammyD120
15th Sep, 2016
Hi there! I am a new cook, and while this may sound very silly, I need to ask as I don't want to mess this amazing recipe up. On the instruction to - "Set the lamb on top of the potatoes and scrunch the foil together tightly to completely enclose the lamb. Lift into a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 4½ hrs until very tender." - Would you put the lamb in the oven in the roasting tin with the roasting tin lid on or off? Thank you!

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