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Wood-fired Greek Style Lamb Kleftiko

Lamb Kleftiko is an undisputed classic in Greek cuisine. It’s the perfect dish to cook in your woodfire pizza oven to delight a crowd with tender lamb and potatoes dressed up with fresh lemon and Greek herbs.

Ingredients:

  • 3-3.5kg lamb forequarter, chopped into about 8 equal pieces
  • Marinade
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 lemons, juiced (save the rinds)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Greek oregano
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. rock salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 8 onions, peeled and left whole
  • Rinds from the juiced lemons
  • 8 large roasting potatoes such as Desiree or Coliban, peeled and halved lengthwise

Method:

  • 1.Start by building your fire up to an intense heat level, which will take about 1-1.5 hours after lighting in most ovens. The wood should have turned mostly ashy by this point, and your oven should have an internal temperature of between 380-400°C.
  • 2. While waiting for the oven to heat up, place olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, one teaspoon of salt, and the pepper into a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms.
  • 3. Pour half of the marinade over the lamb chunks in a bowl and rub the marinade over the meat, ensuring all of it is covered.
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  • 4. In a large, deep roasting pan, arrange the onions and lemon rinds in a layer. Place the chunks of marinated lamb on top of the onion and lemon layer.
  • 5. When you’re ready to begin cooking the lamb, push all of the burning logs to one side of your oven. This will allows the fire to curl up over the arc of the oven to grill the meat. In addition, place a small, fresh log on top of the fire to further smoke and flame.
  • 6. Place a standing rack on the side of the oven opposite the fire, and place your roasting pan on top of the rack. The rack provides space between the hot floor of the oven and the roasting pan, ensuring that the ingredients do not burn.
  • 7. Seal the door of the oven for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes of cooking, remove the roasting pan from the oven and flip each piece of lamb over to ensure even browning. Place the pan back into the oven and seal the door for another 20 minutes.
  • 8. In the meantime, pour the remaining half of the marinade over your potatoes in a bowl. Add another tablespoon of rock salt to the potatoes as well. After 20 minutes has elapsed, remove the roasting pan again and remove the pieces of lamb. Set the marinated potatoes in a layer over the onions, and the replace the lamb pieces on top. Drizzle any remaining marinade over the lamb and then cover the roasting pan with 3 layers of aluminium foil.
  • 9. Bake for another hour with the oven door closed. Baste the lamb in the marinade juices from the bottom of the pan and turn each piece over. Return the lamb to the oven for one more hour.
  • 10. If desired, remove the juices from the pan and reduce down into a sauce on the stove to top the lamb and potatoes.