This Greek lamb is a perfect meal for entertaining. Slow cook for hours, but with hardly any hands-on attention. Such an easy and delicious way to impress your guests!
I’m not American, as I’m sure you’ll have picked up by now if you’ve popped over here a few times before.
Which means that I don’t know an awful lot about Thanksgiving. In fact I’ve only ever eaten one Thanksgiving meal in my whole life, when I had the privilege of joining my friend’s family in Paris for their celebration.
But from what I do know about this very American of celebrations, it’s a fabulous holiday that I truly wish I could take part in every year. And the FOOD. Oh, all that wonderful FOOD!
Now I don’t have a turkey recipe for you today, or anything else traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving (I’m sure you’ve got your recipes all ready by now anyway!), but what I do have is a meal that’s equally as deserving of featuring on a table for a special occasion… this amazing Greek lamb with lemony garlic potatoes – otherwise known as lamb kleftiko.
I never used to be a big fan of lamb. After my first bite of slow-cooked, melt-in-the-mouth Greek lamb during my years in Greece, however, I was hooked. Whether it’s cooked slowly on the spit or slowly in a pot, it’s fall-apart delicious – especially when paired with all the other wonderful flavours in this recipe.
Now this isn’t the sort of recipe you can pop in the oven and have on the table an hour later. But it IS very hands-off once you’ve chopped your ingredients and thrown them into your pot along with your lamb leg. Which means it still firmly deserves a place on this uncomplicated little blog of mine.
Spend ten or fifteen minutes rubbing a few flavours into your lamb and preparing your potatoes, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Sit the lamb on top of the veggies (a Le Creuset Dutch oven or similar is perfect!), and pop into the oven for about 4 hours while you plop yourself on the sofa with your Netflix series of choice. And there you go. Entertaining perfection.
The only attention this meal needs is a little check of the amount of water as it cooks. I found that there was still plenty of liquid in there half way through cooking, but I needed to add a big splash or two about two thirds of the way through – and then again before taking off the pot lid and letting the veggies cook uncovered for fifteen minutes at the end.
Lamb kleftiko doesn’t have a gravy as such, but you do want plenty of tasty juices to mop up with some fresh crusty bread.
This traditional Greek lamb dish packs in plenty of lemony, garlic-y, oregano-y, cinnamon-y flavour – especially considering the small number of ingredients you use.
Just perfect for those winter days when you really don’t want to leave the couch, let alone the house, but still want to convince yourself and others that you did something with your day. In this case, cook a meal worthy of a (Greek) king!
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans! Said with not a hint of envy, of course! 😉
Greek lamb with lemony garlic potatoes (lamb kleftiko)
- 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut into large wedges
- 3 medium to large tomatoes cut into big chunks
- 1 red pepper cut into chunks
- 1 large or 2 smaller red onions peeled and chopped into chunks
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 2 pounds leg lamb bone in
- olive oil about a tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon
- 1 whole head of garlic
To serve (optional)
- feta cheese Greek yogurt, salad and fresh crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 160C / 320F.
Place the potato wedges, tomatoes, red pepper, onions, and bay leaves in an oven proof cooking pot or deep roasting pan. Grind over plenty of salt and pepper, then sit the lamb on top, fat side up.
Rub the lamb all over with the olive oil, then with the oregano and cinnamon. Squeeze over the juice of half the lemon.
Peel half of the garlic cloves and roughly chop into chunks. Cut small slits all over the lamb and insert the garlic chunks into them.
Tuck the rest of the garlic (unpeeled is fine) in and around the lamb and potatoes / veggies, then squeeze the other half of the lemon all over the potatoes / veggies. Finally, pour over 200ml water.
Put the lid on the pot (or tightly cover with foil if using a roasting dish) and roast for 4 hours until the lamb is fall-apart tender. Check half way through cooking, and again about two thirds of the way through, and add a few drizzles more water if you think the dish needs it.
Fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time, add another splash or two of water if necessary, then turn the oven up to 220C / 430F and roast uncovered until the potatoes / veggies have browned a little.
Remove the bay leaves, then serve with a sprinkle of feta, Greek yogurt, grilled bread and salad (if using).
Why not save this to one of your Pinterest boards for later? 🙂
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