Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Real Greek

The Real Greek

By Tonia Buxton

Published 2016

  • About

This classic dish is named after the notorious ‘klephtes’ or bandits who stole mountain sheep or goats for food, cooked in sealed pots to avoid any smoke giving them away! A rustic dish, left to cook until the meat falls away from the bone, I, like many Greeks, cook Kleftiko in our clay dome oven outside, but a large roasting tin with foil to cover works just as well in a conventional oven.


  • 1 shoulder of lamb, cut into fist-sized pieces
  • 2–3 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 3 large bay leaves, torn
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano or a handful of fresh stems
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters lengthways
  • 3–4 cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan 130°C) / Gas 2.
  • Rub the lamb all over with the lemon wedges and some oil. Place in a roasting tin with the bay leaves, oregano and ground cinnamon.
  • Add the potatoes and tomatoes (if using). Season with salt and pepper. With clean hands, fold through all the ingredients to coat well.
  • Cover with a large, double-thickness sheet of foil, sealing well. Roast for 2–3 hours or until the meat is falling away from the bone.
  • Rest the Kleftiko for 10 minutes before serving with a fresh Greek salad and country bread.