Lamb kleftiko

Lamb kleftiko

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(48 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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  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped oregano



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

  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary



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

  • zest 1 lemon and juice of 2



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

  • 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



    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



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

  • 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



    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



    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


  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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26th Jul, 2014
Is there a sixth star? Best lamb leg recipe ever!! The potatoes were amazing too. Served with salad/ on a warm summer evening. Perfect.
5th Jun, 2014
This really is delicious. It has become one of my signature dishes. The potatoes cooked in the juices make them the best tasting I've ever had. Always get lots of compliments serving this one up to guests and it doesn't need you in the kitchen missing out on the chat.
5th May, 2014
Lovely for a leisurely Saturday evening dinner with friends. I drained (& kept) the marinade when I took the lamb out of the oven and the potatoes crisped up beautifully. Will do again.
Louise G
3rd Apr, 2014
Amazing! I was only doing a 1lb lamb shank so I knocked the cooking time down by an hour. I also only marinated mine for about an hour and it was still great - am excited to try it with a proper overnight one. If only it was feasible to always cook roast potatoes for several hours with a bit of lamb on top - totally delicious!
10th Nov, 2013
What did I do wrong? The recipe sounded delicious but it didn't work for me. The flavours were too strong, the potatoes over lemony. My guess is that I had one of those odd tasting lemons that turn up sometimes, and I used a frozen lamb leg which certainly did not fall off the bone. I thawed it first of course. Shame, after all those hours of cooking. I will learn from experience and taste my lemons and buy my lamb from a trusted butcher. .
26th Jul, 2014
Definitely worth trying again. I only used one lemon (it was a big juicy one)
28th Oct, 2013
Fabulous recipe. The lamb just falls off the bone and the potatoes are cooked to perfection. Served with cauliflower cheese....heaven!
1st Oct, 2013
This went down a treat! A LOT easier than it sounds. The lamb is so tasty and the potatoes are just divine! Yummy! give it a whirl you wont be disappointed!
fayfumbs's picture
30th Sep, 2013
Jut divine! Will be making this again and again.....
21st Sep, 2013
This was absolutely wonderful. I roasted the lamb using fan and it didn't take nearly as long as stated in the recipe. But I used the same cook times for the post-roasting of the lamb and the potatoes. The potatoes were lemony and crispy, the lamb succulent and so tasty. I couldn't discard the au-jus - it was just too tasty so used it as accompaniment along with the minty yoghurt. Guests were very impressed, as was I. I served it with the suggested salad as well as some fresh green beans.


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