Gareth Stew­art, dish colum­nist and ex­ec­u­tive chef at The Culpeper, serves up a hearty, slow-cooked meal

Dish - - CONTENTS - Recipe GARETH STEW­ART / Pho­tog­ra­phy KATE BAT­TERSBY

Chef Gareth Stew­art serves up Greek favourite

Lamb Kleft­iko.

Lamb kleft­iko (kleft­iko trans­lates to ‘stolen’ in English) is a rus­tic dish that I’ve had many times on vis­its to the Greek Is­lands and it’s a de­li­cious, rich and flavour­ful meal that is pretty easy to put to­gether.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the shoul­der of lamb and the veg­eta­bles are cooked in a pit in the ground

– a bit like a hangi – but my ver­sion is a more prac­ti­cal spin on the dish. This kleft­iko goes into the oven for five hours. That long cook­ing time and the fact it needs to be brined for 8-10

hours means you can start it the night be­fore and get it into the oven a long time be­fore guests ar­rive and get on with other things.

I like to serve this with a sim­ple fresh salad of cu­cum­ber, av­o­cado, dill, lemon juice and olive oil. If you have some feta, grate it over the top as the salty cheese – like the lamb, thyme, lemon and olive oil – has a clas­sic Greek flavour that works re­ally well.

Lamb Kleft­iko (gf)

1 bone-in lamb shoul­der ta­ble salt for brin­ing

2 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil

1 large car­rot, chopped into

large dice

5 baby onions, chopped into

large dice

1 small leek, chopped into

large dice

4 large ripe toma­toes, chopped into

large dice

¼ cup ex­tra-virgin olive oil sea salt and ground pep­per

1 gar­lic bulb, peeled

1 sprig rose­mary

1 large sprig thyme

2 bay leaves

3 lemons

Make enough brine to cover the lamb shoul­der, us­ing 100 grams ta­ble salt for every litre of wa­ter. Add the lamb shoul­der to the brine and leave for

8-10 hours.

Pre­heat the oven to 130°C.

Re­move the lamb shoul­der from the brine and pat dry. Heat the veg­etable oil in a sauté pan large enough to take the whole shoul­der. Brown the lamb evenly all over and set aside.

Lay a large sheet of parch­ment pa­per over a medium-sized oven tray and place the chopped car­rot, onions, leek and tomato in the cen­tre. Sprin­kle 3 ta­ble­spoons of the olive oil over the veg­eta­bles and sea­son with sea salt and ground pep­per.

Make small slits in the lamb shoul­der and insert a gar­lic clove and some rose­mary into each pocket. Mix the thyme, bay leaves and the re­main­ing rose­mary and gar­lic through the veg­eta­bles.

Place the lamb shoul­der on top of the veg­eta­bles. Slice one lemon and place on and around the lamb shoul­der. Driz­zle the juice of a sec­ond lemon and the re­main­ing olive oil over the lamb shoul­der, and sprin­kle with a gen­er­ous amount of ground pep­per. Wrap the pa­per around the lamb and se­cure the par­cel with kitchen string.

Cook the shoul­der for 5 hours, or un­til the lamb is fall­ing apart. It is worth check­ing af­ter 3½ hours and keep­ing an eye on the meat. Pull out some of the bones; they should come away from the meat and out very eas­ily. Once cooked, take the lamb out of the oven al­low to rest for 30 min­utes.

Baste the lamb with some of the juices from the tray and squeeze over the juice from the re­main­ing lemon. Serve it up with the slow-cooked veg­eta­bles. SERVES 6-8

“Tra­di­tion­ally, the shoul­der of lamb and the veg­eta­bles are cooked in a pit in the ground – a bit like a hangi ”

Driz­zle lemon over the lamb be­fore cook­ing

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