Greek slow-cooked lamb

(36 ratings)
Kleftiko - Greek slow-cooked lamb
Kleftiko - Greek slow-cooked lamb
  • Serves: 6

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

Woman's Weekly recipe A Greek favourite, this slow-cooked lamb (kleftiko) is full of flavour with onions, garlic, lemon, oregano and white wine.


  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb, sliced in half horizontally
  • 200ml (7fl oz) dry white wine
  • 1 rounded tbsp dried oregano
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.85-2kg (3¾-4lb) leg of lamb
  • 750g (1½lb) new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Handful of stemmed capers, optional

Baste the lamb with juices occasionally, to keep the meat moist.


  1. Set the oven to gas mark 4 or 180°C. Line a large roasting tin with 2 very large sheets of foil reaching over the sides. Put a sheet of Bakewell or greaseproof paper inside. Spread the sliced onions in the tin along with the halved garlic bulb. Pour in the wine.
  2. Mix the oregano and oil with seasoning and rub the mixture all over the lamb. Put lamb on the bed of onions. Bring the paper and foil over to wrap the lamb in a loose parcel. Cook for 3 hrs.
  3. Open up the parcel and stir the potatoes into the meat juices, then add the sliced lemon. Re-wrap the parcel and cook for another 1½ hrs.
  4. Transfer the meat to a board or platter. Rest it for 10 mins. Sprinkle over capers, if using. Put potatoes and lemon on the platter, or in a separate bowl. Serve the meat juices as they are or thickened with cornflour, if you prefer. Serve the meat and potatoes with some spring greens drizzled with olive oil. (Not suitable for freezing).

Feature: Kate Moseley. Photos: David Jordan. Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe

Nutritional information per portion

  • Low
  • Med
  • High
  • Calories 533(kcal)
  • Fat 24.0g
  • Saturates 9.0g

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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  • 4
(36 ratings)

Your comments


Absolutely gorgeous!!! I've eaten kleftiko many times in Greece, and this recipe tastes just as authentic. They make it with and without potatoes. How ridiculous to state that you can only eat kleftiko if you're a Greek farmer or poacher with 16 hours to spare and a hillside to cook on. We don't need to hide the fact that we're cooking a nice meal, John. And I've certainly never eaten a hotpot that tastes anything like this! Please ignore any idiotic comments, people, and enjoy this recipe just as much as me and my friends have. Delicious :-)

Sariah Jackson

Get a life John! Unfortunately I don't have a hillside to dig my stolen goat into or 16 hours in which to wait but I have eaten Kleftiko in Greece many times and this is possibly the next best thing to authentic. As a British take, it's pretty good. My Greek husband agrees!


this was my first attempt to cook 'Kleftiko' Lamb.... and I must say it was absolutely delicious and sooo easy.... we had some people over for Easter Sunday lunch and they all LOVED it... it was very moist and tasty.... and isn't it wonderful that we evolved from digging holes in the ground for cooking...???


I have cooked this a few times and it is absolutely gorgeous and very easy. Try it with Potato dauphinoise, and green veg, and some lamb gravy if you like. Yummy!


Another name for Kleftiko is either "Shepherds Roast Lamb", or "Bandits Roast Lamb", because it's supposed to be a dish developed by men in the hills, with only the animals they could catch, and the plants they could pick off the hills as seasoning. OK, where would they pick the Aluminium Foil? Or the potatoes? They're not native to Europe, let alone Greece. Kleftiko should be roasted, at low temperature, for up to 16 hours, with just Oregano and other native herbs, possibly with some wild garlic if it can be found, in a covered pot! As in, prepared and then the covered pot put into a peasants earth oven (or even on a fire in a hole dug in the ground, and covered over to avoid detection if it's done by bandits!) before going out to the hills, and then eaten at the end of the day, when the day's work is done. This version you give is not Kleftiko, but some sort of cobbled together Lamb hotpot. How about "Southern European style Lamb Hotpot"?

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