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Short for lamb kleftiko (αρνί κλέφτικο) is one of those Greek dishes that have spread around the world. Literally 'bandits' lamb', from the days of the Ottoman occupation, when bands of klephts roamed the mountains, the story goes that the lamb (probably stolen) and the vegetables were tightly wrapped in parchment to hide the scent from any pursuing gendarmes and cooked over embers in a hole in a ground,

The classic recipe calls for the lamb to be marinated in garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, then slowly cooked with potatoes, oregano, onions, wine, tomatoes, and kefalotyri, but everyone has their own version.

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Dana F