This week, we’re honoured to have a recipe from professional chef and restaurateur George Psarias, owner of the The Olive Tree Greek restaurants. George recently appeared on ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish – The Chefs where his Greek dessert created some serious heat in the kitchen!
He’s also known as ‘Papa G’ to the very lovely Vicki, a filmmaker and prolific blogger who recently completed an amazing blogaversary carnival at Honest Mum blog (Babes about Town was at the party!).
Who needs turkey when you can enjoy something spectacular like George’s slow-cooked Greek lamb for Christmas lunch?
I can’t describe how my mouth and belly reacted when I read his recipe for Lamb Kleftiko let alone when I set eyes on the finished dish. All I can say is that I have a gut feeling you’re going to love this one.
Oven baked Lamb with Herbs
This literally means ‘stolen’ and the name was derived during the Ottoman Empire when Greek freedom fighters stole lamb, goats or sheep and cooked the meat in clay ovens or underground to eliminate smoke not to betray their positions. The lamb was cooked very slowly until it literally fell off the bone.
4x 350g/12 oz lamb pieces from leg or shoulder with the bone on
4x cloves of garlic cut into slithers
125ml/ 4 fl oz olive oil
Juice of a large lemon
A small handful of fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 190 degrees c/ 375 degrees F/ Gas 5
Make 3-4 slits in every piece of the meat in different positions and insert the garlic slithers in the slits. Mix olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl and brush the whole of the meat with the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Sprinkle the dried oregano and ground cinnamon on both sides of the lamb.
Place the lamb in the foil large enough to make a parcel. Place a bay leaf, 1 sprig of oregano, 2 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of ground pepper on top of the lamb and wrap up lamb with foil but not too tightly. Place parcels in a tray or a large oven proof dish filled with water 1/3 of the way up.
Place the tray in the oven and cook for 1 hour, then reduce the oven temperature to 170/Gas Mark 3 and cook for a further 60-90 minutes, turning over once or twice. Check if meat is tender by inserting a skewer in the middle of the meat and if it slides easily, the meat is ready.
Serve on warm plates, garnished with sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, accompanied with roast potatoes, crusty bread and a fresh, crisp Greek salad.
by George Psarias©
About the Chef
George Psarias owns 3 award-winning Greek restaurants in Leeds, West Yorkshire called The Olive Tree and is the only UK Greek restaurant to be listed in The Good Food Guide for 3 consecutive years.
A chef and restaurateur for 27 years, George has made multiple appearances on TV and radio, writes for various newspapers including the Yorkshire Evening Post and Waitrose magazine and is working on a cookbook with 300 tried and tested recipes.
Catch George Psarias video blogging and sharing recipes every Thursday from Dec 15 on Honest Mum!
Photo credit: Peter Broadbent