Lamb Kleftiko (Oven Baked Lamb with Herbs)


Lamb Kleftiko (Oven Baked Lamb with Herbs)

Here my Dad, George shares his recipe. Over to him.

Kleftiko literally means ‘stolen’ and the name was derived during the Ottoman Empire when Greek freedom fighters stole lamb, goats or sheep and cooked the meat in clay ovens or underground to eliminate smoke not to betray their positions. The lamb was cooked very slowly until it literally fell off the bone. Bake potatoes in the same tray for extra flavour.

Serves 4


  • 4x 350g lamb pieces from leg or shoulder with the bone on
  • 4x cloves of garlic cut into slithers
  • 125ml olive oil
  • Juice of a large lemon
  • A small handful of fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees c/ 375 degrees F/ Gas 5
  2. Make 3-4 slits in every piece of the meat in different positions and insert the garlic slithers in the slits. Mix olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl and brush the whole of the meat with the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Sprinkle the dried oregano and ground cinnamon on both sides of the lamb.
  3. Place the lamb in a foil large enough to make a parcel. Place a bay leaf, 1 sprig of oregano, 2 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of ground pepper on top of the lamb and wrap up lamb with foil but not too tightly. Place parcels in a tray or a large oven proof dish filled with water 1/3 of the way up.
  4. Place the tray in the oven and cook for 1 hour, then reduce the oven temperature to 170/Gas Mark 3 and cook for a further 90-120 minutes, turning over once or twice. Check if meat is tender by inserting a skewer in the middle of the meat and if it slides easily, the meat is ready.
  5. Serve on warm plates, garnished with sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, accompanied with roast potatoes, crusty bread and a fresh, crisp Greek salad.

Recipe © George Psarias.


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59 Responses

  1. Vicki Montague

    Gosh that lamb looks so lovely! We only have meat on special occations now really so I might have to crack that out at Christmas! Thanks for the recipe!
    Vicki Montague recently posted…Spiced Vegetable Millet & Buckwheat PilaufMy Profile

    • honestmum

      Wonderful Vicki, I recently quite meat (bar fish) but will still be showcasing meat recipes from my family here, definitely a great festive option x

  2. Lynda H

    Oh wow, that lamb looks and sounds so delicious!
    Lynda H recently posted…Penelope’s Clubfoot Journey (part 2!)My Profile

  3. thefolia

    Love lamb and this one looks amazing. I don’t eat much meat but I know that lamb (besides game) is one of the meats that are still in its pure form…I hope it never goes to industrial farming! I just found out one of George Stefanapolis’s ancestors was a Klefti. It was on an American program where the host digs deep and goes as far back as they can to your roots.

    • honestmum

      Oh that’s funny! Yes I’ve recently quit meat in fact bar fish but will keep sharing my Dad’s wonderful meat recipes here x

  4. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper

    Adore lamb, Vicki, we’ve been cooking it more lately, and now we’re more confident with doing so will be adding this recipe to the list! x
    Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper recently posted…A Recipe! Extremely More-ish Sausage Rolls!My Profile

  5. Charlotte

    I love lamb and that looks delicious, like it’ll fall of the bone. What’s it best served with?
    Charlotte recently posted…#FoodYearLinkup and Food Blogger’s Calendar – What’s on in December 2014My Profile

      • Charlotte

        Ooh, I love the idea of serving it with a Greek salad.
        Charlotte recently posted…#FoodYearLinkup and Food Blogger’s Calendar – What’s on in December 2014My Profile

  6. Donna

    Seriously craving that lamb now! It’s looks delicious! x
    Donna recently posted…Spanish Sausage Casserole for Meat Free MondayMy Profile

  7. Angela

    I’ve never made this, but I’ve always wanted to give it a go. I’ll have to give this recipe a try. Thanks for running #TastyTuesdays.

  8. Donna

    Oh that lamb looks incredible! Lamb is my favourite meal but we don’t have it often as it is quite expensive. I’ll be trying this next time we buy a joint! x
    Donna recently posted…Christmas Gift List for PreschoolersMy Profile

  9. Eileen Teo

    Look so mouthwatering! My husband would love me to cook the for him!
    Eileen Teo recently posted…Tuesday Tutorials Week 44 Christmas WreathsMy Profile

  10. Mel

    I don’t eat lamb but Hubby and the children would love it! I must make an effort to cook more lamb for them. xxx
    Mel recently posted…Selfie Stick Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    • honestmum

      Funny as recently stopped eating meat myself Mel, just fish but will still be sharing the gorgeous meat dishes from my Dad. Let me know if you get to make this x

  11. Joanna @mumbalance

    I used to hate lamb, than I fell in love with it, and now I’m veggie so it’s off the menu 🙂
    the picture looks lovely though!
    thanks for hosting xx
    Joanna @mumbalance recently posted…3 Things I Didn’t Try Unitl Going Veggie and I wish I hadMy Profile

    • honestmum

      Hehe well I’ve recently stopped eating meat (husband is pescetarian) and wanted to see if I felt better limiting it but I don’t want to stop showcasing meat recipes here, thanks for your lovely words, husband took the fab photo x

  12. Alison

    This looks lovely, my husband would love this. He is a great lover of lamb
    Alison recently posted…White Chocolate and Strawberry MousseMy Profile

  13. Julie's Family Kitchen

    Sounds incredible, I know this would go down a treat with the family. I’ll have a go at making it over the holidays.
    Julie’s Family Kitchen recently posted…Giveaway: Win a copy of Charcuterie by Miranda BallardMy Profile

  14. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    We LOVE lamb at Bod Towers and this looks delicious! Linking up with a mere ‘trifle’ of a post today… sorry, just had to be done 😉
    Michelle Reeves (bodfortea) recently posted…The best trifle in the world ever?My Profile

  15. Mummy Tries

    I’ll be trying this out asap, so my kind of food and hubby would love it xx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Why Should You Read My Book? #BTBYMy Profile

  16. Sarah (@tamingtwins)

    Oh this looks just delicious. I love warming, comforting, slow cooked lamb on cold days. Gorgeous photos as always!
    Sarah (@tamingtwins) recently posted…4 Reasons to Run in the WinterMy Profile

  17. Jenny

    Lamb looks good. I have never attempted to cook lamb too scared but this looks so good I just might have to try it for once. Yummy! Thanks for hosting.

  18. Samantha Rickelton

    One of my best friends LOVES lamb kleftico but I have to say I’ve never tried it – your recipe looks delicious and easy though so I think it’s time I gave it a go! #TastyTuesday
    Samantha Rickelton recently posted…#LoveNorthEast – The December LinkupMy Profile

  19. Ciara (My Fussy Eater)

    YUM!! I love Kleftiko Lamb so much but haven’t made it in ages. I will definitely be making this for Sunday dinner soon so will try out your delicious recipe!
    Ciara (My Fussy Eater) recently posted…Baked Eggs with Tomato & ChorizoMy Profile


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