Lamb Cooked in Parchment Paper (Kleftiko)
The high quality of the meat is absolutely necessary, because it really forms the key component of this exceptional dish! When cooking, be patient with time required and you will be generously rewarded!We were very fortunate last week, because we had a visit from my godmother Georgia who lives in Crete. Her husband, Andreas, is a shepherd.
Andreas has 60 sheep that he takes out every morning at 6:00 am and brings back at the end of the day. He loves what he does and it shows in the way he tends and talks about his animals.
When she came to our house she brought with her a lamb leg as a gift. We took her advice and made this recipe, which she usually makes at home. We fell instantly in love! We hope you will too…
Cooking in parchment paper (“kleftiko” in Greek) is a method with a significantly glorious past. In most cases, we choose to cook a piece of meat in parchment paper along with fresh vegetables, especially with potatoes.
The addition of wine, extra virgin olive oil, spicy cheese (graviera or kefalotiri) and aromatic herbs (oregano, thyme or rosemary) is a common practice, which gives the meat a little extra zing. Of course, we can cook fresh fish and other seafood in parchment paper, exactly in the same way as we make this kleftiko recipe.
The popularity of this cooking method is due to its practicality. A few minutes of preparation, secure wrap of all the ingredients in the shape of a pouch or parcel and then straight into a sizzling hot oven for hours.
Heat then takes over to “marry” flavors and aromas, while time blesses this “marriage”. In our recipe, we choose to add fresh green beans. This is not so common in a lamb kleftiko recipe, but we can assure you the results will be delicious!
The Greek food blog COOKOUVAGIA was given life by and Anastasia for the love of Greek food.
Cookouvagia (ku.ku.ˈva.ʝia) greek for owl, was the sacred bird of goddess Athena. She was the patroness of Athens in whose honor the city was named after; and it’s where we call home!
Be sure to visit their blog at www.cookouvagia.com and read all the exciting things they’ll share with you from their Athens home base!
Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2.5 pounds lamb (leg), deboned and cut in small cubes
½ pound kefalotiri cheese cut in small cubes
1 lemon, only juice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ pound potatoes, peeled and cut in small cubes
½ pound fresh green beans cut in half
1 tbsp. oregano
4 thick sheets of baking parchment
Put lamb in a bowl.
Add olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and oregano.
Cover with cling wrap and keep in fridge for at least 1 hour to marinate.
Take bowl out of the fridge and uncover.
Allow meat to come to room temperature.
Add potatoes, green beans, cheese and garlic.
Mix well using your hands.
Preheat oven 350F.
Lay a sheet of baking parchment on your work surface.
Put 1/4 of the mixture on the baking parchment.
Wrap package tightly using a twine.
Lay package on a baking tray.
Repeat for rest of the mixture and baking parchments.
Bake for 2 hours approximately.
Preferably, serve sizzling hot.
Put each package on a nice plate without tearing it apart!
Give joy to your beloved family by letting them do it by themselves!
Serve with a glass of chilled red wine and a delicious green salad.