Recipe Review: Rick Stein’s Lamb Kleftiko

I love Greece and I love Greek food. As I can’t afford a holiday to Greece this year I thought I would bring a little Greek sunshine into my own dreary kitchen. Rick Stein’s ‘From Venice to Istanbul’ is a bible of recipes from, as the name would suggest, Venice to Istanbul. There are Italian pasta dishes, Turkish kebabs and lots of wonderful dishes inspired by his travels around Greece. With each turn of the page my mouth waters even more. Even the simplest of dishes from these regions look and sound delicious and lamb kleftiko is no exception. With only a few ingredients and minimal preparation it’s great for feeding dinner guests and tastes sublime.

Here’s my take on Rick’s recipe, which is actually exactly the same apart from the alterations for it to feed four. It was perfect.

Start the recipe by peeling 750g of waxy potatoes and cutting them into wedges. Slice a red pepper into strips and roughly chop 3 large tomatoes. Tip all of the veggies into a casserole dish and season well with salt and pepper.

Take half a leg of lamb and sit this on top of the vegetable base, then pour over the juice of 1 lemon and 60ml of extra virgin olive oil. Halve a bulb of garlic and chuck that in too. Sprinkle over 1 tbsp of dried oregano and then add 150ml of water. Put on a tight fitting lid and whack it in the oven for 2.5-3 hours at 190°c.

When the lamb is falling off the bone it’s done. Check the juices, adding a bit more water if too dry or reducing them down in a pan if too watery. Crumble over 100g of feta cheese and pop the dish back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. I left the lid off to get a little bit of colour going on.

20160807_145123.jpg

The finished dish looks beautifully rustic and filled the whole house with the aroma of garlic, lemon and tomatoes. I served it alongside a Greek salad and some homemade tzatziki. Yum!

 

 

 

Recipe: Greek Salad

So you don’t really need a recipe for a Greek salad. The ingredients, if the recipe remains true to it’s heritage, should always be the same. That is tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese, along with a dressing rich in olive oil. In my opinion it’s best served at room temperature or just under rather than straight from the fridge and makes a wonderful side dish to grilled or roast lamb. This is the way I make mine.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 350g good tomatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • A chunk of cucumber about 6 inches long, halved lengthways and cut into strips
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your prepared vegetables.
  2. Add in the feta cheese and sprinkle over the oregano.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the salt and pepper until combined. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, give it a good toss and take it proudly to the table.

20160807_144717.jpg20160807_144729.jpg

Perfect for an alfresco summer lunch!