Lamb "Kleftiko"

Two versions of one of the most popular Greek traditional recipes. Which ever one you try the combination of herbs, vegetables and slow cooked lamb is sure to bring a smile to your face
  • Difficulty:
  • Serving: 6
  • Preparation: 40
  • Cook time: 180


  • 1–1.5 kilo leg of lamb or 2-2.5 with the bone
  • 2 Small red onions
  • 3 Peppers
  • 4 Carrots
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Thyme
  • 1 tbsp Chopped rosemary
  • 0.5 cup Olive oil
  • 1 cup Dry white wine
  • 1 cup Seasoned plain flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • --------------------
  • Greek potatoes:
  • 6 Potatoes medium sized
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chilli flakes (optional)
  • 0.5 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Cloves of garlic chopped
  • --------------------
  • To put together:
  • 200 gr Kefalotyri or Graviera (or any hard cheese, cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 4 Spring onions, chopped
  • 200 gr Feta cheese
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooking string
  • ______________
  • 1–1.5 kilo Leg of lamb or 2-2.5 with the bone
  • 2 Small red onions
  • 3 Peppers
  • 4 Carrots
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Mustard
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Thyme
  • 0.5 cup Olive oil
  • 1 cup Dry white wine
  • 200 gr kefalotyri or Graviera (or any had yellow cheese, cut into cubes)
  • 6 Medium sized potatoes
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes cut in half ( or 2 tomatoes cubed)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 Spring onion-chopped
  • Silver paper




Restaurant version

This is the recipe we use in the restaurant in our restaurant, it looks complicated but in reality it isn’t. You just need to do it in 3 stages.
We do it this way as it can be made in advance, you can put it together to order and as well as tasting delicious – it looks amazing.
In the same way you could use this recipe for dinner parties. It’s best to start with the lamb preparation, then while that’s bubbling away you can get the potatoes in the oven- it will all be ready at approximately the same time. Then when you’re ready to eat, all that remains is to put it together, bake and serve. Enjoy!

  1. Step 1:The lamb<Cut the meat into cubes or ask a friendly butcher to do this for you.
  2. Lightly coat the meat in seasoned flour and fry until browned- you may have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  3. Remove the meat from the pan, then add the chopped onions, cooking until translucent, around 10 minutes. Next add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Cut the peppers into 1 inch square pieces and the carrots into ½ inch slices, add to the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Place the meat back in the pan, then pour in the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes until it has mostly evaporated.
  6. Now add the stock or water, (enough to cover the contents of the pan), the lemon juice, the mustard, the herbs and the seasoning.
  7. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 2 ½ hours over a low to medium heat, checking the liquid levels from time to time and stirring. Check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary. When the meat is soft and starting to fall apart, you’re ready.
  8. Step 2:Greek Potatoes
  9. Roughly chop the potatoes into wedges, wash and place in a roasting tin.
  10. Add lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, oregano, paprika, garlic, chilli flakes if using and seasoning. Rub the potatoes with the mix to make sure they’re evenly coated then add around ½ inch of water to the tin.
  11. Cover with foil and place in a hot oven, around 220 degrees, for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 degrees for another 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil, being careful not to burn yourself from the steam, move the potatoes around in the pan, prod with a fork to make sure they’re soft.
  13. Now turn the heat back up to around 200 degrees and leave for around half an hour until they reach a golden brown colour.
  14. Step 3:Putting it all together
    You can make individual portions or just put it all together in one big roasting tin. Either way, you need to line individual oven proof bowls or your roasting tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper, making sure to leave enough paper overhanging to tie up and make into parcels.
  15. Next place all the potatoes into the baking tin or divide into 6, then do the same with the lamb, add enough stock or water to keep the meat moist. Then chop the cherry tomatoes, cube the cheese and place on top.
  16. Finally fold over the greaseproof paper and tie into parcels with cooking string. Place in a medium to hot oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and untie the parcel/s sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and spring onions and serve.


  • Oven temperatures vary greatly from house to house. The temperatures we give are guidelines so check from time to time what’s going on at least for the first time you make this dish.
  • Be sure to add stock or water along with the marinade before you seal up your kleftiko
  • It’s essential to start the oven on a high heat. This ensures the stock will boil and start the cooking process. Then reduce the heat, checking from time to time.
  • Don’t chop the vegetables too small- due to the long cooking time they will break up if too small.
  • Check the seasoning when you add the tomatoes and cheese.
  • Be careful when opening the greaseproof paper parcel, hot steam will come out- and believe me-it burns.
  • The amount of garlic, rosemary etc. is entirely optional. We used quite a lot as the meat we used was fresh and tends to have quite a strong taste- the herbs help balance the flavours.
  • Finally, there are many variations of this recipe so feel free to make it your own by adding or omitting whatever ingredients you choose. We sometimes add courgettes, you could try adding sweet potato…. Happy cooking!

Traditional version

  1. Prepare the meat. Take your leg of lamb and make 1 inch incisions along the bone. Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic, some rosemary and mix with salt and pepper, then stuff into the cuts in the meat.
  2. Prepare your marinade. Mix together: olive oil, white wine, mustard, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, rosemary and seasoning.
  3. Prepare your vegetables. Quarter the onions, cut the peppers into large chunks, slice the carrots likewise into large chunks and roughly chop the garlic and add to the marinade along with the meat. With your hands rub the marinade into the meat, cover and leave for 2 hours or ideally leave in the fridge overnight.
  4. Prepare to cook. Remove the bowl with the marinated lamb and vegetables from the fridge , allowing it to come back to room temperature. Line a large roasting tin with foil, then line it again with several layers of baking parchment making a star shape with the edges hanging over the edge of the tin. Peel the potatoes, cut into 4 and scatter over the base of the roasting tray, season, then pour over the meat and vegetables along with the marinade and a little extra water or stock. Now fold the layers of baking parchment over to cover the food and scrunch the foil together over the top to form a parcel. Place the roasting tin in to a preheated oven 220 degrees, turning the heat down to 160-180 after 30 minutes and continue to cook for around 2 hours, checking from time to time that there is enough liquid ( add water if necessary).
  5. Remove the roasting tin from the oven, unwrap the parcel and add the cherry tomatoes and cheese to the dish. Check there is enough liquid and adjust if necessary then close the parcel and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Finally, remove from the oven, unwrap the foil and parchment parcel, move everything around a bit, turn the heat back up to 180 degrees and put back in the over for a further 20 -30 minutes until nicely coloured.
  7. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and chopped spring onions.
  8. Serve with tomato and onion salad , and of course lots of brown crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.
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