Lamb kleftiko

Tonia Buxton shows John Torode how lamb shoulder, lemon juice, and cinnamon combine to make a meltingly tender, traditional Greek dish
By John Torode
Lamb kleftiko
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • drizzle olive oil
  • 1 lamb shoulder, about 1.5kg, bone in, cut into fist-sized pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, (or fresh if available)
  • 1 pinches cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 large potatoes, cut into four
  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes, (optional)


1. Kleftiko is traditionally made in a sealed earthenware dish, but a casserole dish covered in aluminium foil will do the trick (alternatively you can make individual parcels of the meat with a layer of baking parchment and aluminium foil).

2. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Cut a piece of aluminium foil to about a metre in length. Lay the paper in a casserole dish with one half covering the base of the dish and the other hanging over the edge.

3. Rub the lamb all over with the lemon wedges and put the lamb and lemon wedges into the dish. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper, oregano and cinnamon, and add a bay leaf and the potato wedges - you can also add a few cherry tomatoes for colour.

4. Mix together all the ingredients, fold over the second half of the paper to cover the meat and transfer to the oven. Roast for 2-3 hours, or until the meat falls off the bone. Rest the meat for at least ten minutes in a warm place and serve.

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