Greek Lamb Kleftiko is a gluten free Greek lamb stew recipe of diced lamb slow roasted with potatoes and feta cheese in parchment.
This lamb kleftiko recipe is a delicious lamb tray bake meal that can also be made over a campfire as a delicious hobo pack or upscale camping recipe.
What is lamb kleftiko?
Lamb kleftiko is a traditional Greek lamb recipe of garlic and lemon marinated lamb slow cooked in parchment paper.
Lamb kleftiko translates to ‘stolen lamb’ and originates from the time of the Greek revolution when bands of Greek guerrillas, called Klephts, hid in the mountains and had to hide their meat and their cooking smoke by cooking in an underground pit to prevent detection.
It is now a common weeknight meal with different variations depending on area and family making the dish.
- Diced lamb – lamb stew meat makes a boneless lamb kleftiko recipe. But using a bone in cut of lamb like lamb shank or lamb shoulder, is more traditional. You can also substitute bone in chicken, like chicken thighs or even chicken legs, or even make pork kleftiko if desired.
- Feta cheese – I used my favorite feta style sheep’s cheese, Fleecemaker feta from Harmony Fields. Harmony Fields farm stand in the Skagit Valley is also where I purchased the delicious lamb stew meat for this recipe. Beautiful Harmony Fields farm stand is a must stop for high quality lamb products if you’re in the area during farmstand hours.
- Garlic cloves
- White wine – or make lamb kleftiko without white wine and substitute beer, chicken or vegetable stock or water instead.
- Olive Oil
- Red pepper flakes
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Salt and Pepper
- Tomato – optional. You can make lamb kleftiko without tomatoes or add bell pepper, squash or other similar vegetables instead.
Step by step instructions
- Make a flavorful marinade from garlic, olive oil, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper, chili flakes, lemon zest and juice.
- Cover lamb with marinade, at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking dish with parchment paper.
- Place potatoes in prepared baking dish and top with seasoned lamb. Pour the extra marinade over lamb and potatoes. Top with tomatoes and wine and sprinkle with feta cheese cubes.
- Cover with parchment paper, folding to seal. Cover again with a piece of aluminum foil to seal, if necessary.
- Place baking dish in a preheated 325 degree oven to roast. After 1 ½ hours, open the top of the parchment and check to make sure the lamb is fork tender. If not, cover and continue baking for 30 more minutes and check again.
- Once tender, remove parchment and increase heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue roasting until potatoes and lamb are golden brown and feta cheese is bubbly.
- Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh herbs.
- Serve with additional lemon wedges and warm flatbread if desired.
What to serve with
Serve this fall apart lamb recipe like you would with other delicious tender meat recipes. Things on the side like grilled flatbread, fresh lemon slices, grainy mustard and herbs allow you to make kleftiko lamb gyros.
Slow cooker lamb kleftiko
Traditionally made in a clay oven and now Greek lamb and potatoes in the oven is most common. But this lamb recipe can also be updated to be made as slow cooker lamb kleftiko.
To cook in the slow cooker: Use the same water quantity, mix all the raw ingredients thoroughly first before transferring to a 6.5-litre slow cooker, cover and cook for 6 hours on high. Skim the fat from the surface using a ladle and serve topped with the oregano and feta.
Freezer lamb kleftiko
This lamb recipe makes a great freezer meal. To meal prep ahead of time simply combine marinade and lamb stew meat in a freezer bag or other freezer safe container and freeze for up to three months. Then defrost and cook as directed, adding potatoes and feta before roasting.
- 2 pounds lamb stew meat or substitute 4-5 pounds bone in lamb shank or shoulder
- 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup white wine or substitute beer, stock or water
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano or 2-3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds potatoes about 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 large lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large tomato roughly cut
- Juice and zest lemon and combine with garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or storage bag. Add lamb and marinate at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
- When ready to cook preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking dish with parchment paper.
- Place potato wedges on parchment and top with seasoned lamb, pouring all extra marinade over potatoes and lamb.
- Top with tomato, wine and feta cheese.
- Cover with parchment paper, folding to seal. Adding a piece of aluminum foil to seal, if necessary.
- Place in a preheated 325 degree oven to roast. After 1 ½ hours, open parchment to check if lamb is fork tender. If not, cover and continue baking for 30 more minutes before checking again.
- Once tender remove parchment and increase heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue roasting until potatoes and lamb are golden brown and feta is bubbly, about 10-15 minutes longer.
- Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh herbs, if available.
- Serve with additional lemon wedges, warm flatbread, and grainy mustard if desired.