Greek lamb stew kleftiko (κλέφτικο) is a juicy and tasty stew that is cooked in the oven for a couple of hours and is one of the undisputed classics in Greek cuisine. Kleftiko has all the classic flavors associated with Greece: lamb, oregano, garlic, feta cheese, peppers, tomatoes and squash.
The story of the Greek lamb stew kleftiko (κλέφτικο)
The story of this rich stew takes us back to the reign of the Ottoman Empire in Greece. The name comes from the word klefts (robbers or thieves). The free Greeks, who did not want to accept the laws of the Turkish Empire, formed outlawed groups to fight against the occupiers. And guess where many of these Greek heroes were hiding? In the mountainous Peloponnese of course!
Inventive klefts had to find a way to cook meat without lots of smoke from fire that would otherwise reveal their hiding places. When they managed to get hold of (or steal) a lamb, they lit a small fire in a pit and in the ashes on the bottom they put pieces of meat wrapped in animal skins spiced with what can still be found in the Peloponnese: wild oregano and garlic. Then they put out the fire and let the food boil in the glowing ashes. Needless to say, the word “kleptomania” comes from klefts?
Our kleftiko is not cooked in animal skin but in a glass form with a lid, although you can just as easily put it in a package of aluminum foil where you distribute all the ingredients. Then calculate at least 3-4 pieces of meat per person.
Kleftiko step one: ingredients preparation
The ingredients below are calculated in a 5 liter glass mold with a lid and are enough for 4-6 people
- 1.2 kg of boneless lamb. Cut the meat into 2-4 cm thick sticks
- 8-10 potatoes. You can divide the smaller potatoes in halves, the larger ones into four parts
- 2 smaller squash. Slice into about 3 cm long sticks
- 1 red and one green pepper. Slice into 2 cm thick pieces
- 1 large red or yellow onion. As above
- 200 g feta cheese
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes. Divide into halves
- 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic. Chop, do not squeeze!
- 1 lemon. Squeeze
- 3 dl red wine
- 1 pot fresh oregano or 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- olive oil to lubricate the glass mold with
- salt and pepper as you like
Step two. Let the ingredients marry in the oven
- Grease the mold with olive oil and combine meat, oregano, vegetables, salt and pepper.
- Beat over the lemon juice, crushed tomatoes and wine
- Top with the diced feta cheese
- Put in the oven (200 degrees) and let the stew simmer in about 2 hours
Feel free to serve the stew with a Greek salad, one or two Greek pies with feta cheese and of course with tzatziki! Sit for a long time with your loved ones and enjoy the taste of Greece!