How to make it

  • Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3.
  • Tear off two pieces of strong tin foil (aluminum foil) big enough to wrap around a lamb shank, with a bit extra to spare for 'scrunching' into a seal.
  • In the middle of each piece of foil, put a pinch of cumin seeds, a bay leaf, a good pinch of thyme, a good pinch of oregano, a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
  • Place a lamb shank on top of the seasonings.
  • Drizzle each shank with a little oil.
  • Sprinkle each shank with another small pinch of cumin seeds, a little more thyme, and a little more oregano.
  • Draw up the edges of the foil and carefully 'scrunch' together to seal the foil into a parcel. Make sure the seal is tight all the way along, as this will ensure all the meat juices are kept inside. I sometimes wrap them with two layers of foil but if your foil is good and strong, one layer should do it.
  • Place the foil parcels into a roasting tin just big enough to hold them snugly, and cover the whole tin with another piece of foil. Scrunch this down tightly all round the edge.
  • Just pop them in the centre of the preheated oven and leave them for 3 hours.
  • Carefully unwrap the parcels, but do not remove the meat from the foil. The meat will be falling off the bone and sitting in a pool of delicious juice.
  • I just set each opened foil parcel on a plate, with some potatoes and veg beside it.
Defrosting!   Close
Preparing the foil   Close
Add meat and more herbs...   Close
Wrap it really tight...   Close
Into the baking tin   Close
Get your 5 a day!   Close
Pop it in the oven   Close
Serve   Close
All finished...   Close

Reviews & Comments 17

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  • lindyjj 4 years ago
    Yum yum!! This sounds fantastic! My man will also love it.. thanks! :)
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  • mbalmr 4 years ago
    DANG, this sounds really good. I haven't had lamb in ages!! I've been wanting some, and this is the first recipe I'm going to try! Thanks!
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    " It was excellent "
    lor ate it and said...
    Well, whatever "Kleftiko" means, the recipe is awesome. I knew I'd be in trouble if I started viewing recipes this morning. BIG TROUBLE! This is a definite HIGH 5+++ winning recipe ;)
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  • rebbesoul 4 years ago
    Wow... this sounds really good.
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  • absinthebride 5 years ago
    This looks fantastic!
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  • hungerhealer 5 years ago
    kleftiko means " THIEVES' " .... actually referring to the way they prepared it...
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  • hungerhealer 5 years ago
    Kleftiko really means " thieves'" , from the word "kleftes" wich means "thieves" . They were outlaw rebellious freedom-fighters during the ottoman occupation of Greece . People used to give them food volunterily and they were highly respected . If someone didnt help , they would steal therefore called thieves . The real recipe is : slaughter the lamb , debone it , add salt and oregano ( that grew in the mountains ) only , cover and wrapwith lamb's hide , insert beneath warm coals and broil slowly . Nowadays , this recipe has been altered , using filo pastry to cover ... I will add the recipe shortly .
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    " It was excellent "
    pixyqueen ate it and said...
    wow what a winter warmer....
    Family satisfaction garenteed...!!!!!!!!
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  • aegeansea 5 years ago
    I love kleftiko...you get a high 5 from me!
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  • sitbynellie 5 years ago
    They have a overing layer of skin & fat, and some connective tissue and gristle (tendons) but there is plenty of lean tissue in there. The fat in the skin and in the meat itself renders out during cooking, and ends up in the liquid which surrounds the meat when it's done. The meat falls off the bone! The way to avoid ingesting too much sat fats is to lift them out of the foil when cooked, and keep them warm, then skim the fat off the top of the liquid which is left in the bottom of the foil; alternatively, the shanks can be served plain on a plate without the liquid, or with a sauce of your choice.
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  • otterpond 5 years ago
    Wonderful post. Thanks for taking the time to photo the steps and all. I have never had lamb shanks, are they lean?
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  • sitbynellie 5 years ago
    I remember many years ago reading in a book by Elizabeth David that 'Kleftiko', although she spelt it slightly differently, roughly meant 'stolen' (think of the word 'kleptomania'). Rebels or bandits living in the hills & mountains would steal a lamb in order to survive, and this is a kind of nod toward the way they'd have cooked it - wrapped up tightly and cooked slowly over a fire.

    Elizabeth David's books are well worth a read - she was the first food writer who in the 50s introduced us in Britain to the delights of Mediterranean food when previously we'd been chewing on boiled mutton. It took a while to catch on but the days of boiled beef and carrots are long behind us thankfully....!!

    Hope this helps!
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  • lovebreezy 5 years ago
    I love your "All finished" photo.

    What does the word Kleftiko mean? When I tried looking it up, it appears to be a kind of mushroom and the language was indeed Greek.

    Mr Breezy will be happy with this recipe. Saved.
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    " It was excellent "
    capedread ate it and said...
    can I come over to your house for dinner?
    fabulous recipe thanks!
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    " It was excellent "
    choclytcandy ate it and said...
    this sounds great. mmmm!
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  • ttaaccoo 5 years ago
    I don't even like lamb, and I am intrigued! thank you.
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  • modelsmom 5 years ago
    Mmmm, yummy! Bookmarked and printed - thank you! I love recipes that taste like you slaved over them (especially when you didn't!), and I can tell this is going to be one of those!
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