Kleftiko – the thieves dinner

Back from Italy, we are gastronomically stuck in the Mediterranean. I promised to write some recipes on the Italian food we had, yet first let me share with you a recent Greek recipe we tried out. Kleftiko. The name alone can lure you into Greece and the amazing food it has to offer.

Then you discover the myth behind this dish: the food of the thieves. Legend has it that kleftiko –which in translation means thieves lamb – was lamb wrapped in paper, and cooked for hours. This to allow the thieves to go out on their robbing spree, yet come back to a delicious and ready cooked meal.

We didn’t go on a robbing spree, but we did cook kleftiko.

2 shoulders chops lamb
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, cut into rings
fresh lemon juice, enough white wine to cook
olive oil, bay leaves, seasoning

Place the lamb shoulder in an oven proof dish and cover with all the ingredients. Other vegetables can be added to the dish as well, such a sliced carrots, tomatoes, potatoes etc. We however preferred our dish as simple as possible. The only twist we added, is covering the kleftiko with dough. Usually the dish is cooked in baking papers, in the oven. However we thought that dough could have the same sealing effect – which it did – and looked a little more impressive. Served with a fresh salad, it made for a very nice, sunny dish.
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