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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.19 / 5 (268 votes)

Prep time:
20 min
Cook time:
3 hrs

Tonia Buxton shows John Torode how lamb shoulder, lemon juice, and cinnamon combine to make a meltingly tender, traditional Greek dish


1. Kleftiko is traditionally made in a sealed earthenware dish, but a casserole dish covered in aluminium foil will do the trick (alternatively you can make individual parcels of the meat with a layer of baking parchment and aluminium foil).

2. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Cut a piece of aluminium foil to about a metre in length. Lay the paper in a casserole dish with one half covering the base of the dish and the other hanging over the edge.

3. Rub the lamb all over with the lemon wedges and put the lamb and lemon wedges into the dish. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper, oregano and cinnamon, and add a bay leaf and the potato wedges - you can also add a few cherry tomatoes for colour.

4. Mix together all the ingredients, fold over the second half of the paper to cover the meat and transfer to the oven. Roast for 2-3 hours, or until the meat falls off the bone. Rest the meat for at least ten minutes in a warm place and serve.

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Latest Comment


Probably the worst kleftico recipe I have done .
The dish was ruined by the lemons which left everything bitter and inedible. 30 mins later I can still taste it.
Basically an £8 half shoulder of lamb thrown in the bin and now off to the chippy to try and rescue the evening .... 0/10

AndyR51783 AndyR51783  Posted 06 Apr 2014 6:03 PM

Please can you state the calorie count per portion. Thanks

sarahW6866 sarahW6866  Posted 04 Jan 2014 8:16 PM

It looks great and I am going to try this today. However, I think the chef should be more careful when preparing ingredients not to push her hair back with her hands and then touch the food!

HazelC12849 HazelC12849  Posted 17 Nov 2012 10:15 AM

I wasn't very keen on this recipe. I'm from Cyprus and I've had much better. However, the other 7 people who I cooked for loved it, 2 kissed me and 1 proposed :s so It could just be me,

LeoC88596 LeoC88596 Posted 09 Nov 2011 3:03 PM

Absolutely stunning! Ive found several recipies for this, so I also use a glass of red wine, and a sprinkling of parsley. Bung in the oven, and go off and do other things...delicious served with stuffed vine leaves! I use 2 lemons cut up, so more than recommended. A chef friend of mine came to taste, he said its the best hes ever had....by the way...hes Greek! 5 stars x

PaulaM26724 PaulaM26724 Posted 02 Feb 2011 2:42 PM

I found this dish was ruined and overpowered by the lemon which left a bitter after-taste, so much so that I couldn't even use the juices for stock. Leave the lemon out and it will be fine.

ChrisM61048 ChrisM61048 Posted 30 Dec 2010 8:08 AM

I thouroghly enjoyed this simple yet wonderful dish, I used the shoulder as the recipe suggests but kept it whole, wonderfully succulent meat, happy to say I had enough left over for my lunch today with a greek salad.

KarlN36652 KarlN36652 Posted 23 Nov 2010 4:03 PM

Seems to me that Foxes is talking rubbish. This tasted just the same as the food I had in Santorini, Plakias and Hydra. I think someone is either very bad at following simple instructions, using awfully bad ingredients or has no taste at all! Or just making a comment without trying it. I was so happy to find this recipe it reminds me of our good times we have just had in Greece and on the islands.

The Gnome The Gnome Posted 16 Jul 2010 12:27 PM

I followed the recipe religously, and watched the video as well, it was absolutely awful and bore no relation to the Kleftikos I have eaten in Greece or Cyprus, yuck.

Katesbakes Katesbakes Posted 01 Mar 2010 3:49 PM

Tried this recipe for the first time - excellent - I used lamb shanks and it worked well

AnnetteW56314 AnnetteW56314 Posted 07 Nov 2009 4:26 PM

I cooked this for the first time and it was like the Kleftico that we had in Santorini and Lesbos. Absolutely fantastic.

Anonymous Anonymous Posted 28 Jun 2009 3:11 PM

Re-'How do you get fist size pieces with the bone in?' I think they mean weigh the meat with the bone in

BURLS BURLS Posted 12 May 2009 8:40 AM

If cooking in casserole with foil, cover bottom also with greaseproof as potatoes stick to foil. Potatoes cooked this way are fabulous, cram as many on the bottom as you can!

Chipmonk 1 Chipmonk 1 Posted 21 Jul 2008 3:52 AM

alternatively, use lamb shank which is delicious cooked this way - the greeks add other root vetetables too - such as carrot

sammid1 sammid1 Posted 11 Jun 2008 4:18 PM

perhaps u could ask yr butcher to do it! all it takes is a little thought

henshall1 henshall1 Posted 04 Jun 2008 5:13 PM

does anyone know how you cut a shoulder into fist size pieces whilst the bone is still in?

moderndad moderndad Posted 23 May 2008 4:16 PM