LONG SLOW AND EASY RUSTIC LAMB KLEFTIKO RECIPE

Apr 1st

As beautiful as the weather was over the last couple of days just so it changed and suddenly yesterday the day was dull, cooler and the low hanging clouds soon started weeping onto the hot parched earth and plants. Dont you just love that smell when the rain first hits the ground…such an earthy, raw beautiful aroma that wafts indoors and assails the senses….God bringing life to His creation. I just love it!

So, just as the weather changed overnight so too my thoughts about food changed – from salads and iced tea and not much of an appetite or desire to cook in the heat to going in search of recipes for soups and casseroles. Thoughts of wrapping cold hands around a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Thoughts of snuggling up under a blanket and reading a book. Thoughts of loooong, slow cooking started crossing my mind and suddenly I was hungry and needing to be in the kitchen. I had some lamb knuckles languishing in my freezer so I put a random tweet out asking for suggestions as to what I should do with them. I got varied responses from Tomato Bredie (which I will make really soon as it is one my favourite South African casseroles) to curry (hmmmm my all time favourite favourite) and then this simple one line tweet that really got me thinking…..

 Kleftiko – from what I have read up about this dish it originated in Greece in the 1800′s during the revolution when bands of guerillas would  steal a lamb or goat from the hillside and then cook it over glowing hot stones and embers in a hole in the ground with soil packed over the top to stop any smoke or steam escaping and giving them away. The dish would cook for up to 24 hours!

LONG SLOW COOKED GREEK KLEFTIKO – RUSTIC AND DELICIOUS

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1,5kg Free Range Lamb Knuckles

100ml extra virgin olive oil

1omls Butter

8 Shallots or small onions – peeled and left whole

6-8 Fat cloves garlic – left unpeeled

1 Clove Garlic – peeled and finely grated or crushed

2 Tbs Fresh Rosemary – removed from stalks and chopped

1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Thyme – picked from stalks

4 Sprigs Fresh Oreganum -  left on the stalks

1 Fresh Bay leaf – use dried herbs if you don’t have access to fresh but remember to use much less of the dried

1 Lemon – juice and finely grated zest

8-10 Baby Potatoes – washed  I used regular potatoes as that was all I had in the house. Just cut them into quarters or smaller depending on size

250ml Boiling Water

10mls NoMU Lamb Fonds -  stirred into the boiling water. I love this product but if you don’t have access to it use your stock of choice

10ml Runny Honey

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

You will need:

A deep large casserole dish or oven proof saucepan with a good fitting lid

Aluminum Foil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius

2. Heat half of the oil and all the butter in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium heat. I managed to get by using just half the oil. You might need to add more depending on the fat content of your meat

3. Add the lamb a few pieces at a time and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel

4. Line your casserole dish with a large sheet of aluminum foil so that it overlaps on all sides

5. Place your browned meat into the casserole, sprinkling over a good grinding of salt and pepper

6. Add the potatoes and onions to the dish and tuck in the whole garlic cloves

7. Sprinkle over the zest, crushed garlic, herbs, lemon juice and drizzle over the honey

8. Tuck in the herb sprigs, pour over the hot stock

9. Bring the sides of the foil up around the contents to make a an airtight parcel

10. Place another sheet of aluminum foil over the top so that it slightly overlaps the edges of the casserole dish

11. Place the lid on tightly then pop it into the preheated oven for 6 hours. Don’t open until the 6 hours are up

12. Remove from oven, open up the parcel and drain off the liquid into a smallish saucepan skimming off most of the fat and oil

13. Reduce rapidly over a high heat until thickened into a nice rich sauce

I served my Kleftiko simply, over a bed of just al dente Risoni pasta, some fresh Italian Parsley and a lemon wedge….HMMMMMMM!!! Sticky, moist, lemony, falling off the bone, rich and delicious! Be sure to squeeze the sweetly roasted garlic out of the skins onto your meat and ENJOY!!

browniegirl xx