Lamb kleftiko is a traditional Greek recipe that’s simply tailor-made for your slow cooker – simple and extremely tasty.
I realised that as summer approaches I have been unconsciously navigating towards the Greek recipes of my childhood. Take this lamb kleftiko for instance – a traditional Greek recipe that I certainly would have run a mile from when I was younger. I was not a fan of lamb! Thankfully we live to grow, and I have rediscovered lamb kleftiko from the perspective of an adult and grown to appreciate this very simple dish.
Lamb kleftiko, or ‘bandit’s lamb’, was supposedly lamb that was stolen and cooked in a pit to avoid detection. These days it is basically simply seasoned slow-cooked lamb usually cooked with potatoes, and sometimes tomatoes, until it is so tender it falls off the bone. This type of recipe is simply tailor-made for the slow cooker, especially when it is hot out and you want to give your oven – and yourself – a break.
I was expecting great results from my slow cooker lamb kleftiko and I was not disappointed! The lamb was indeed so tender it was simply falling apart at the touch of the fork. You could shred it pulled-pork style if you wished to – would be delicious served in wraps with some tzatziki. Or you can serve it with the potatoes and a Greek salad for the full experience!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.2kg | 2½ pounds lamb shoulder
- 1kg | 2 pounds baby potatoes, skin on
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 lemon wedges
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
- 80ml | ⅓ cup white wine
- 80ml | ⅓ cup lamb or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- ½ cinnamon stick
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- extra lemon wedges to serve
- 3 tbsp crumbled feta to serve
- handful fresh oregano and thyme leaves to garnish
- Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper and rub with the anchovy paste, if using.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Sear the lamb on all sides until nicely browned. Set aside.
- Add the potatoes, onion and garlic to the pan and fry, stirring, over high heat until the potatoes are starting to colour a little. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the potatoes to your slow cooker and place the lamb over them.
- Add the cinnamon stick and lemon wedges.
- Mix the wine, stock, vinegar, lemon juice and herbs and pour over the lamb.
- Cook on low setting for 9½ hours, or until the lamb is falling off the bone.
- Shred or carve the lamb into portions and serve over the potatoes sprinkled with a little feta cheese, garnished with the fresh herbs and with extra lemon wedges on the side.
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