Lamb Kleftico is a traditional Greek dish and I love cooking it slowly when I am in Cyprus. Always makes a spectacular and tasty special meal and this Easter Sunday I am cooking it for my family guests. The meat will just fall off the bone and the smell of the lamb, white wine and garlic is wonderful. Originally a friend discovered this recipe in a supermarket magazine and we have both adapted it.
2 – 3 onions thickly sliced
2 garlic bulbs not peeled but cut through the middle
300 ml (sometimes needs even more!) white wine
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 – 2.5 kg leg of lamb
650 – 700g new potatoes, scrubbed
1 lemon sliced
salt and ground black pepper
For the yogurt dressing
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rough chopped fresh mint
200g greek yogurt
Line a large roasting pan with 2 large sheets of foil so that the sides drape over the edges of the pan. Line the foil with a layer of greaseproof paper the same size.
Place the sliced onions in the roasting pan, the cinnamon sticks and one of the garlic bulbs. Pour over the white wine.
Mix the oil with the seasoning and the oregano and then rub well on to the sides of the lamb. Place the lamb in the pan on the bed of onions, garlic and cinnamon. Wrap the greaseproof paper and foil over the lamb so that it is totally covered and seal the foil on all sides so that it is completely sealed.
Place it in an oven at 170C and cook for 3 hours without peeking at it.
After 3 hours open the foil and greaseproof paper and throw in the new potatoes around the lamb and stir into the juices. Add the slices of lemon and the remaining garlic and stir into the juices. Cover again and put back in the oven for another 2 hours.
While it is cooking make the yogurt dressing. Toast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a dry non stick pan and lightly crush with a pestle and mortar. Mix them with the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped mint. Gently stir into the Greek yogurt and chill.
Transfer the lamb to a serving plater, cover lightly with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Keep the juices and potatoes hot in the oven.
Serve the lamb on the platter in the middle of the table and the meat will just fall off the bone, Serve the potatoes and juice with the lamb and serve the yogurt dressing separately. Great with salad or green vegetables.
I also cook it in the same way on a gas barbecue on a very low heat.