If you’ve ever been to Greece before you will know that when it comes to Greek food, it’s all about the slow cooked lamb. Kleftiko is possibly the most traditional dish in Greece and is a must for all lamb lovers! The meat, normally a leg of lamb or lamb shank, is placed into a parcel along with fresh vegetables, potatoes, lots of lemon juice, olive oil and a mixture of Greek herbs. It’s then wrapped up and slow cooked for hours until the meat is ‘melt in your mouth’ texture. Amazing!
The dish I’ve created here uses leg of lamb and is slow cooked, much like kleftiko. However, the main difference in this dish is that I am not cooking it in a parcel and I am serving it with orzo. If you haven’t tried orzo before, now’s your chance! It’s basically a very small pasta shape that looks a bit like a bigger version of rice and is currently my favourite ingredient! You can find orzo in most supermarkets now along with all the other pasta shapes, but if you can’t find it, any other small pasta will do
This dish is so easy to make and is absolutely perfect for a special occasion, or perhaps a more fancy Sunday dinner!
1kg lamb leg meat, diced, plus the bone
400g chopped tomatoes
500ml lamb stock
300ml vegetable stock
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
4-6 pitta breads
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4 or 160C for fan assisted ovens.
- Get a large casserole dish and put in the diced lamb and bone, the sliced onion, chopped garlic and all the herbs and spices. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the ingredients and then mix them all together.
- Place the dish into the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring half way through. Discard any blackened onions at this point.
- After these 30 minutes pour in both the hot lamb stock and hot vegetable stock along with the chopped tomatoes and mix together. Cover and then place back into the oven for around 1 and a half hours.
- Remove from oven and make sure the lamb is tender. It should fall apart very easily. If it doesn’t pop it back in the oven and cook for a while longer. Once tender enough take out the lamb bone and pour in the uncooked orzo. Replace the lid and put back into the oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Make sure the orzo is cooked through and then season with salt and fresh black pepper. Crumble on a generous amount of feta cheese (if desired) and then serve with pitta breads.