Kleftiko (Lamb Claypot)

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Kleftiko Lamb Claypot

Kleftiko is one of those fantastic Greek dishes that once you try, you love. After all, it’s slow braised lamb, savory potatoes, fantastic sauce, and filo pastry. While the filo pasty may not be the most historical, it is still quite traditional in certain regions. I learned to make this Kleftiko recipe during one of my many trips to Greece, and it is absolutely a favorite.

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Kleftiko is essentially lamb stew cooked in a clay or earthenware pot. Traditionally it was made by wives during the war to bring large amounts of food to their husbands who were off fighting. They used large clay water jugs which were able to hold a lot of food. This instance however, we are just using a simple ceramic baking dish.

My favorite thing about this dish is that everything can be made in advance in large quantities, then placed in baking dishes, covered in filo, and put in the oven. That way if you are making this for a large group you can serve everyone at once and everything will still be hot.

Lamb Kleftiko is not a quick dish, so don’t plan on making it for a weeknight meal. This recipe does work however as a great Sunday dinner. Just note that the most important part of this dish is marinating the meat with the garlic and other seasonings the day before, so you’ll want to start on Saturday for a meal on Sunday.

Kleftiko Lamb Claypot

Kleftiko Ingredients

1 kg Lamb; traditionally the leg. Ask your butcher to cut you chunks of lamb leg with the bone still in there to really bring great flavor to this dish.

1 Onion; yellow, chopped.

5 cloves Garlic. Roughly chopped, do not use a garlic press.

4 Potatoes; large cubes. A standard yellow potato works just find.

2 tbsp Dijon Mustard

125 ml Olive Oil

125 ml Dry White Wine

1 tbsp Dry Oregano.

1 tbsp Lemon Juice; freshly squeezed.

1 tsp Salt; or to taste

1 tsp Pepper; black, freshly cracked.

200 grams Filo Pastry. This is probably more than you need, but you want a big sheet, so you can cut away the excess.

Kleftiko Instructions

1. Marinating the lamb is the most important part of any kleftiko recipe. You want to start this the day before you plan to eat it so the flavors are well blended. Chop the lamb into bite size chunks (if you got bone in keep the bone there as well) and place into a large bowl. Add the chopped onion, garlic, mustard, olive oil, white wine, oregano, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Seal the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

2. After the meat is done marinating in the bowl, add the large chopped potatoes and place into a large baking bowl. Traditionally this recipe calls for clay pots, but as that’s not so common these days, I recommend a cast iron enameled cocotte like my Emile Henry Flame Red Cocotte, or something from Le Creuset. Place the pot on the stove top starting with a very low flame, and slowly increase it until the liquid starts to boil. Give everything in the pot/cocotte a good stir and place down the lid. Put in an oven pre-heated to 150 degrees Celsius for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

3. When the lamb stew is finished you can go straight to the finishing of it, or leave it in the pot for later usage. The lamb stew will keep for two days in the cocotte in the fridge.

4. When ready to make the kleftiko, take the lamb stew and place a good amount of it into a baking dish. You can go big for a large sharing portion, or small for individual. Either way, lay down the lamb stew and cover with a layer of filo pastry. As I don’t like to make my own filo, I feel frozen is perfectly acceptable. Make sure the edges are completely sealed and place the dishes into an oven pre-heated to 175 Celsius for 15 minutes (or following the instructions on your packet of filo pastry.

5. Serve the kleftiko straight from the oven while it is still hot!

Notes

You can leave out the pastry and use the older method of baking it in a parchment paper packet. Just wrap the stew up in parchment paper and tie with a string to seal. Bake for the same amount of time at the same temperature.

Kleftiko can be adjusted to suit your needs. Feel free to add more vegetables to your preference, or even take out the ones I’ve suggested. If you really want something even more rich, use red wine instead of white, and add Feta Cheese during the marinade step.

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Serve Kleftiko With:

Baked Feta Cheese

Classic Greek Tzatziki

Lamb Kleftiko

Kleftiko Lamb Claypot

Kleftiko (Lamb Claypot)

A delicious and savory classic Greek Kleftiko. Also known as lamb claypot, this dish is sure to delight and impress.
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Kleftiko, Lamb Stew
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Lamb leg is preferable
  • 1 Onion yellow, chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic roughly chopped
  • 4 Potatoes Large Cubes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 125 ml Olive Oil
  • 125 ml White Wine
  • 1 tbsp Oregano dry
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 200 grams Filo Pastry

Instructions

  • Marinating the lamb is the most important part of any kleftiko recipe. You want to start this the day before you plan to eat it so the flavors are well blended. Chop the lamb into bite size chunks (if you got bone in keep the bone there as well) and place into a large bowl. Add the chopped onion, garlic, mustard, olive oil, white wine, oregano, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Seal the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
  • After the meat is done marinating in the bowl, add the large chopped potatoes and place into a large baking bowl. Traditionally this recipe calls for clay pots, but as that's not so common these days, I recommend a cast iron enameled cocotte like my Emile Henry Flame Red Cocotte, or something from Le Creuset. Place the pot on the stove top starting with a very low flame, and slowly increase it until the liquid starts to boil. Give everything in the pot/cocotte a good stir and place down the lid. Put in an oven pre-heated to 150 degrees Celsius for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • When the lamb stew is finished you can go straight to the finishing of it, or leave it in the pot for later usage. The lamb stew will keep for two days in the cocotte in the fridge.
  • When ready to make the kleftiko, take the lamb stew and place a good amount of it into a baking dish. You can go big for a large sharing portion, or small for individual. Either way, lay down the lamb stew and cover with a layer of filo pastry. As I don't like to make my own filo, I feel frozen is perfectly acceptable. Make sure the edges are completely sealed and place the dishes into an oven pre-heated to 175 Celsius for 15 minutes (or following the instructions on your packet of filo pastry.
  • Serve the kleftiko straight from the oven while it is still hot!
Did you make this?Mention @CookingToEntertain or tag #cookingtoentertain and let me know how it was!


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