We absolutely love versatile lamb, whether we’re grilling chops, cooking up an African tagine, or thinking along Mediterranean lines, like in this great spring lamb recipe from Greece.
Kleftiko is a traditional Greek lamb dish that is easy and delicious. The relatively long prep time comes from overnight marinating and two-hours of baking – not from any hard work, so plan ahead and enjoy. The recipe traditionally calls for a pastry lid (you can use store-bought dough or roll out a simple flour-water mix ) – but so long as you seal the casserole tightly, you can use anything you like: a heavy lid, aluminum foil, or even cook it in paper parcels if you're feeling fancy. The Greeks serve this with boiled potatoes, but we think you should have lots of fresh bread on hand to soak up all the lovely juices.
- Juice of one lemon
- 15ml/1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 4 lamb leg steaks or chump chops (with bones if possible)
- 30ml /2 tbs olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 150 ml / 2/3 cup dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mix together lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Brush over both sides of lamb. Leave to marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Drain the lamb, reserving marinade. Dry meat with paper towels. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry on high heat until browned on both sides.
- Transfer lamb to shallow pie dish/casserole. Scatter the onion slives and bay leaves around the lamb, then pour over reserved marinade and white wine.
- If using a dough lid, moisten rim of dish. Roll out dough to cover on floured surface and use to cover the dish, pressing around edge to seal. (Alternatively, use aluminum foil or close-fitting casserole lid to seal the dish tightly).
- Bake for two hours. Break away crust and serve.
Delicious with crusty bread, Greek salad, and a glass of white wine.