Monthly Mystery Munchies: My Big Fat Greek Lamb Kleftiko

Lamb Kleftiko 11It’s the fifth installment of my and Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies and this month we went Greek. When scouring the internet and cookbooks for ideas, I settled on lamb kleftiko. Why? I freaking love a good roast! Also, the story behind it is so amusing and that endeared me. ‘Kleftiko’ means ‘stolen’ in Greek. Back in the day, bandits would thieve cattle and cook the meat, sealed in a pit oven and covered with sand, to prevent their opponents from seeing the fire. They would leave the meat buried in the ground all day and return to a slow-cooked meal at night. Genius. I’m not an advocate for theft but I like the initiative these dudes showed. (Please buy your meat with actual money!)

The dish is encased in layers of tin foil and/or parchment paper (unless you happen to have a pit oven). Here’s where it gets even yummier: it’s marinated overnight in garlic, fresh herbs and lemon juice. Then, when you’re ready to cook it, it’s surrounded by veggies, topped with thickly sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with seasoning and drizzled with olive oil. And a partridge in a pear tree.

Think of it as your one-stop roast pot. Remove the meat from the fridge an hour before you’re ready to roast, cook it on low for 4-5 hours depending on how you like it, and when you take it out of the oven, you have everything you need. Beautiful, succulent, falling-off-the-bone lamb, and potatoes, onions and carrots that have been absorbing all the tasty lamb and herb juices. No missioning with extra veggies. Carve it, dish it and you’re good to go. Amen. Let’s do this, but before we go ahead, make sure you mosey on over to Grubbs n Critters for my BBF (Best Blogging Friend) Ann’s take on this month’s theme.

Monthly Mystery Munchies: My Big Fat Greek Lamb Kleftiko

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Supplies:

Lamb Kleftiko 11.8-2kg leg of lamb
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stalk
1 sprig lemon thyme, leaves removed from stalk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 garlic cloves, crushed and halved
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and halved
4 carrots, sliced lengthways
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
Freshly cracked black pepper & salt

Lamb Kleftiko 21. Crush and halve the garlic cloves. Put all the herbs in a bowl, add the garlic and olive oil and stir well.

Lamb Kleftiko 3

 

 

 

2. Make incisions in the lamb, 2-3 in a vertical row and repeat across the meat. (Don’t cut all the way through to the bottom.) Stuff the holes with the garlic and herb mixture. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice with black pepper and salt and pour over the lamb, rubbing it in with your hands, and rubbing the underside of the meat too.

Lamb Kleftiko 53. Put the meat in a sealable bag and refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of 2 hours.

 

 

 

Lamb Kleftiko 74. Remove lamb from the fridge and let it rest for an hour before you cook it. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Lay a long piece of tin foil down, lengthways, and lay a piece of parchment paper over it. Lay another piece of foil horizontally, and again lay a piece of parchment paper over it. (You’re creating a cross.)

Lamb Kleftiko 85. Cut the onions into quarters, positioning one onion in the centre of the cross. Halve the carrots lengthways (I never peel them, I’m too lazy, but I wash them thoroughly) add 6 halves to the onions. Peel and halve your potatoes, placing 6-8 halves with the onions and carrots. What you’re going for is a mixture of veggies at the bottom of the dish, but not all of them. Drizzle some olive oil over them (about 2 tablespoons)and grind some black pepper and salt over them. Place the lamb on top of the veggies and drizzle more olive oil on top of the lamb. Sprinkle with salt. Position the rest of the chopped veggies around the lamb. Place 6 tomato slices, cut thick, on top of the lamb.

Lamb Kleftiko 96. Bring all of the foil/parchment paper sides together. What you’re going for is a very well-sealed effect. Put the parcel in a deep roasting dish put the dish in the middle shelf of your oven. Roast at 160°C (320°F) for 4-5 hours (4 hours for rare, 4½ for medium and 5 for well done).
Lamb Kleftiko 10

7. Remove the roasting tray from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before opening it. Carve the lamb, add veggies to the plate and dig in!

 

Glazed Gammon with Honey, Mustard and Apricot Jam

Something’s wrong with this picture. I get home from the supermarket, unpack the groceries and stare. I’m definitely missing something. Oh swear word. I forgot the ingredients for the glazing. Swear word, swear word, swear word. You see, I promised The Husband and The Best Friend glazed gammon. They take their food very seriously. Woe betide me should I fail to deliver. People, this is what happens when you draw up a shopping list with the TV on in the background. You get sidetracked by shows like ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ and can’t tear yourself away from the dude with the gnarliest looking man-problems you’ve ever seen. Dr Christian has his work cut out for him. Shudder.

I check the cupboards and fridge and find some apricot jam and honey. Right. It’ll have to do. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it turned out to be the yummiest glazed gammon in the history of my kitchen (which I tore down a few months later). I added some mustard just because. I mean, I’ve already deviated from the original recipe so why not just go all out, right? I like to live on the wild side and also, mustard is to honey as the Kardashians are to rappers. Make of that what you will.

This is much easier than missioning with pineapples and cherries. Those toothpicks get me every freaking time. I’m not sure I can definitively say what my favourite roast is, between beef, chicken and gammon, but this recipe is definitely my favourite gammon and has subsequently been made several times.

Gammon 1 (2)2kg (approx 4.5lbs) boneless gammon
2 onions, halved
2-3 celery stalks, cut into thirds
2 carrots, cut into thirds (I never peel them, too much PT)
5 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns

Glazing:
4 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons hot English mustard

Gammon 2 (2)Put the gammon in a large pot, fill it with cold water and cover. On high heat, bring it to a boil then drain the water. Place the rest of the ingredients in the pot, refill with fresh cold water, bring it to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb. If your gammon is sticking out of the water slightly, turn halfway through.

 

 

If your gammon piece isn't fully covered by water, turn it halfway through.

If your gammon piece isn’t fully covered by water, turn it halfway through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gammon 4 (2)Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Once the gammon has finished simmering, remove from heat, drain and let cool for 20 minutes. Take off the ties before it cools too much. After 20 minutes, remove the rind and score the remaining fat in an ‘X’ shape. Mix the apricot jam, honey and mustard and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir thoroughly and baste onto the gammon ensuring the entire piece is covered. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 20 – 25 minutes, basting it with pan drippings every 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before carving it.