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How to cook kleftiko

Updated February 21, 2017

Recreate the summer holiday taste of kleftiko by making this Greek lamb dish at home. Instead of the usual roast joint for Sunday lunch, give kleftiko a go for a change. In Greek it literally means "stolen meat" because of the tale about a pair of thieves who stole a lamb and cooked it in a hole in the ground while they continued their illicit pursuits. You can "steal" this recipe, but be sure to say where you found it.

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Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C (250F). This is a low heat. You can also use the "warm" setting if your oven does not have such low temperature settings.

Put 570 g (1 1/4 lb) lamb shank cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) cubes in to a baking dish and cover it with 15 ml (1 tbsp) of olive oil.

Add the two sliced onions, a clove of chopped garlic, 2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried rosemary leaves, one or two whole bay leaves, and salt and pepper around the lamb in the baking dish.

Cut a strip of aluminium foil to fit around the rim of the baking dish. Cover the pan with the lid, ensuring that the aluminium foil is between the lid and the pan to form an airtight seal.

Place the dish in the oven and bake for four to five until the lamb registers at least 60 degrees C (140F) on a meat thermometer. The temperatures for lamb are the same as for beef.

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Things You'll Need

  • Baking dish with lid
  • Lamb shank
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Dried rosemary leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Aluminium foil
  • Meat thermometer

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