I have written a recipe for kleftiko before, but this one, based on one we had in a restaurant in Symi, had to go in the book .I think it was the combination of tomatoes, red pepper and waxy potatoes and a whole bulb of garlic that did it, plus the slow cooking. Any leftover lamb is delicious wrapped in a warm flatbread with lettuce, tomatoes and finely sliced onions.
- 1.5kg waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
- 3 large tomatoes, cut into thick slices
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 turns black peppermill
- 1 leg of lamb (about 2.5kg)
- Juice 1 lemon
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 bulb garlic, cut in half horizontally
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 200ml water
- 100g feta cheese, roughly crumbled
Heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Place the potatoes, red pepper and tomato in a large, flameproof oven dish or tin and season with the salt and pepper. Put the leg of lamb on top and pour over the lemon juice and olive oil, then add the garlic halves to the dish. Sprinkle all over with the oregano .Pour the water into the dish and cover with foil, sealing the edges well to retain the moisture as it cooks. (A large enamelled, lidded, cast-iron pot,such as Le Creuset, would also be suitable to cook this in.)
Cook in the oven for 2½–2¾ hours until the meat is falling off the bone, adding a little more water, if necessary, halfway through to keep the vegetables moist. Remove the foil (or lid) and add the feta, then return to the oven for 10 more minutes. After this time, check the consistency of the juices. If the dish seems a little dry, add a little more water. If too dilute, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving dish and reduce down the liquid on the hob.
Serve the meat in chunks or thick slices with the vegetables and juices.