Earlier on I posted that something was cooking in my kitchen. Was it worth the wait? You bet it was!
The weather is much cooler now, and hot, comforting food is starting to replace the lighter salads and pasta dishes. Hearty soups, casseroles and meat dishes are making an appearance in my kitchen.
In the southern hemisphere, lamb and mutton dishes are eaten almost on a daily basis, in any season, and prepared in so many different ways. I do love the taste of lamb, but it does tend to dry out very quickly, and if overcooked, tastes horrible. If however, it is prepared correctly and slowly roasted in an oven, you are rewarded with a tender, tasty meat, well worth the wait!
Today I made a dish based on a Greek recipe for Kleftiko. Lamb ‘kleftiko’ literally means ‘stolen’ lamb. This name is said to originate from the Klephts who would steal lamb or goats and cook the meat in hidden underground ovens in order to seal the flavors and smells and avoid being caught!
A traditional kleftiko is seasoned with wine, olive oil and lemon and left to marinate overnight. The lamb is baked in an oven, for a long period of time, so prepare ahead if you want to eat this at a set meal time! The result is a tender, succulent lamb shank, with a juicy tomato sauce, and tasty potatoes. My version of kleftiko is rather simple, yet still very tasty and even if I say so myself, delicious! I ran out of lemons. How’s that for bad timing!?
This is quite a messy dish, not at all pretty in presentation. Rustic. Deliciously tasty. Comforting. Filling, and yet you will be wanting more!
This dish serves two (or more if you cut up the lamb).
Lamb Shanks – κλέφτικο (Naturally gluten free)
- 2 Lamb shanks (500g)
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced
- 2 medium sized potatoes, cut up
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- Half a large onion, sliced
- Salt, pepper and dry oregano to taste
- About a quarter cup of filtered water
- Preheat oven to 180C/355F
- Wash the lamb shanks
- Chop up vegetables and peel garlic cloves
- In an oven proof dish, place the shanks, and season, rubbing the salt into the meat
- Arrange the tomatoes, onion, garlic and potatoes around the shanks
- Pour the water into the pan
- Cover with tinfoil
- Bake in a preheated oven, on 180C/355F, for two hours
- If you want to brown the potatoes and lamb, uncover after two hours, and return to oven for about 15 minutes
- Remove from oven, carefully remove the tinfoil and serve
- Squeeze lemon juice over (if you have any on hand)
- Serve with a Greek salad, or vegetables, rice, or just as it is
καλή όρεξη! Enjoy!
stole have a great tip for chopping onions. Cut the onion in half, place into a bowl of icy cold water (I used cold water and ice!) and leave for about ten minutes before you chop up. This will prevent you (me) from crying and getting all snotty nosed. I’m pleased to say, that it really works!!! Thank you, Martha Stewart!
Oh, and if you’re wondering if I enjoyed it? The proof is in the
pudding photo! 😛