Eagle eyed readers may have noticed a little ‘Llambassador’ button sitting quietly within the homepage sidebar recently. Now I can proudly reveal the reason why: I am thrilled to announce that I am now an official Llambassador for Welsh Lamb!
For those that might not be familiar with the brand, the high quality range of products are created thanks to the purest of natural ingredients. The blend of nature’s finest Welsh air, clean water and fresh grass together with the high standards of farming results in fresh, succulent lamb that melts in your mouth every single time. It truly is Welsh Lamb at its finest.
The quality of the produce is so fine that it has been recognised by the European Commission (EC), who has awarded Welsh Lamb the much-coveted status of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). This puts Welsh Lamb in the same company as Parma Ham, Feta Cheese and Champagne!
To celebrate, I share our delicious Greek Kleftiko recipe both here and over on the Eat Welsh Lamb site itself where you can also find a number of other recipes to get stuck into! But first, the Kleftiko…
Welsh Lamb Greek Kleftiko
Kleftiko’s name comes from the days in Greece when bandits used to steal young lambs from the shepherds and hide it – in short, it just means ‘stolen’. The bandits then used to wrap the slaughtered lamb in paper along with vegetables (also probably stolen!), and cook them over hot coals in the ground over several hours. This would keep the food out of sight and prevent the delicious aroma arising, thus leaving the bandits thefts undetected.
You will need to prepare the lamb the previous evening. The extended marinating period together with the long, slow cooking method leaves a succulent, tasty lamb that remains tender throughout.
Leg of Welsh lamb
3 large cloves garlic
Sprig of rosemary
2tbsp of oregano
200ml good quality olive oil
Juice of two lemons
2 large onions
200ml white wine
200ml lamb stock
Pour the lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl or high sided tray large enough to fit the lamb into comfortably.
Finely chop the garlic and add to the oil and juice mixture along with the oregano, salt, and pepper.
Remove the rosemary leaves from the stalk by running it through your finger and thumb and place them into the mixture.
Take the lamb and insert a knife about an inch or so into it all over.
Place the lamb into the bowl or tray and rub the mixture over it thoroughly. Make sure you turn it and push the mixture into the insertions.
Cover the tray with clingfilm and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.
The following day:
Remove the lamb from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature (still in its marinade) for an hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 160⁰C/320⁰F/Gas Mark 3.
Meanwhile, line a roasting tray with parchment paper. You can also find parchment paper which is coated with foil on the outside which also works well for this. When lining the tray you need to ensure there will be enough to wrap up around the vegetables and lamb. Cut two long pieces of parchment to place widthways across the tray, ensuring they overlap each other so none of the tray can be seen. Then cut another two pieces which will lie lengthways across the tray side-by-side. There should be a generous overhang of parchment at the left, right, top and bottom of the tray.
Peel the potatoes and cut larger ones in half. You don’t want small pieces as larger ones will hold their shape better with the long cooking time.
Halve then quarter two large onions, then slice along them. Place the onions and potatoes at the bottom of the tray.
Place the lamb on top of the potatoes and onions and pour the marinade all over. Then add the lamb stock and the wine.
Bring up the sides of the parchment and wrap the lamb well, ensuring it is completely sealed.
Place into the oven and leave to cook for the next five hours.
After five hours open up the lamb and fold back the parchment. Turn the temperature up to 200⁰C/400⁰F/Gas Mark 6 then leave to cook for a further 30 minutes. This will brown the lamb on the outside whilst allowing the inside to remain tender and moist.