- 1.2-1.5 kg lamb leg joint
- 1 kg Potatoes peeled and diced
- 100 g feta cheese diced
- 1 pcs bell peppers roughly chopped
- 2 pcs tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 pcs onion peeled roughly chopped
- 3 pcs garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 lemon lemon juice
- 150 ml White wine
- 150 ml Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon rosemary dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano dried
- 4 leaves Bay leaves
- a pinch Black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons Salt
Kleftiko is a traditional Greek slow-cooked stew, usually made from lamb, potatoes, hard cheese and Mediterranean herbs. Interestingly, kleftiko shares the same source with more familiar terms such as kleptomania or kleptocracy.
Besides being a mouth-watering dish, the legend of how kleftiko originated is also interesting indegenerique.be. It is named after Klephts, which literally means thief. That is, kléptein in Greek means to steal.
The Klephts, under Ottoman rule, were brigands who lived in the Greek countryside. Mostly they were anti-Ottoman insurgents, descendants of Greeks who retreated to the mountains in the fifteenth century to escape Turkish rule. The name of the dish itself could be translated as “in the style of the klephts”.
According to another theory, this dish was made in Cyprus during the 19th century, also at the time of the struggle for liberation from Turkish rule.
To survive, both Greek and Cypriot Klephts, stole, lambs or goats from local shepherds. The meat was prepared in holes in the ground that were sealed with mud so that smoke could not be seen. Hence the custom of preparing today by wrapping the ingredients in baking paper.
Wherever kleftiko really originated is the irrefutable fact that it quickly became very popular and settled in traditional Greek cuisine. Apart from lamb, there are variants with goat or even with pork called exohiko.
With kleftiko, we strongly recommend serving Greek salad. One goes well with another.
This recipe for kleftiko as well as many other Greek recipes I got from my friend Kostas when I visited Thessaloniki.
In a deep bowl make the marinade use the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, wine, rosemary, bay leaves and oregano.