The other day at the market, I was surprised to find lamb neck bones for $2.99 a pound. Actually, the packs seemed to be small chunks of meat with relatively little bone to them. What a steal, I thought as I brought them home with nothing in specific in mind to cook.

A few evenings later, I assembled some of my varied Greek cookbooks to search for the best recipe. I came up with Kleftiko, or Stolen, from one.

This rich lamb and onion stew is baked in the oven hidden under cover of a crust. In Greece, which survived under the rule of the Ottomans for some four hundred years, the klephts were bandits known for sheep-rustling as well as taking traveling merchants hostage for ransom.

Lamb Kleftiko. Marinate a pound or two of chopped lamb (shoulder or neck that’s not too bony are the best cuts) in the juice of one lemon and 1 tbsp. dried oregano for a few hours. Preheat your oven at 325 degreesF.


Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat, both sides. Transfer the lamb to a shallow pie dish, forming an even layer.

waiting for onions, mom’s old pie pan

Sprinkle 2 large thinly sliced onions and 2 bay leaves over the lamb, add salt and pepper. Add 2/3 cups dry white wine and any reserved marinade.

waiting for crust

I used a ready-made pie crust to top my dish. Moisten the rim of the pie dish. Place the curst over the dish and seal tightly.

out of the oven

Bake for 2 hours. Break the crust and serve with boiled potatoes.

PS. Last week the lamb neck was $5.99 a pound! I got away with a steal the day I bought mine!

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