Video special: Slam in the lamb this Boxing Day

Fed up with Turkey for Christmas or perhaps looking for something different to serve up on Boxing Day after a bracing walk to blow away all that festive excess?

George  Psarias, owner of the Olive Tree restaurant in Leeds
George Psarias, owner of the Olive Tree restaurant in Leeds

The Yorkshire Post has teamed up with George Psarias, the owner of the award winning chain of Olive Tree restaurants in Leeds to give you a few fresh ideas. Click on the video button to discover how to make a delicious Lamb Kleftiko.

Lamb Kleftiko is a firm favourite. It 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.

A stunning dish, it’s perfect for winter!

George Psarias, owner of the Olive Tree restaurant in Leeds

Try it yourself...

you will need... 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


1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees c/ 375 degrees F/ Gas 5

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Serve on warm plates, garnished with sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, accompanied with roast potatoes, crusty bread and a fresh, crisp Greek salad.

• Recipe by George Psarias of the Olive Tree Greek Restaurants in Leeds.

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