Slow cooking makes Kleftiko’s secret
Growing up in a Greek family, I can say that I ate like a king! Especially when we had a Kleftiko day. Lots of Greeks could agree on this. Even though there are many carb-oriented dishes in Greek Mediterranean cuisine, this amazing treat is keto-friendly. Well, at least my version is because I excluded the potatoes. Additionally, this dish is one of the most delicious meals you can have without guilt. Of course, don’t forget the tzatziki sauce and the Greek salad! It will be a phenomenal meal!
The meaning of word Kleftiko
Kleftiko comes from the word kleftis (κλέφτης) which means a thief. I know, I sound like mister Portokalos from My big fat Greek wedding movie. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to explain the meaning of this name. The thieves were Greek guerillas who fought against the Ottoman yoke. These thieves, or the rebellions, lived in the mountains and isolated places. So, they had to find ways to cook the meat without giving out their location to the enemy.
Old traditional method
The first baking method included digging a pit on the ground. After that, they would set a fire. As soon as charcoal was created, they would put the meat, wrapped in a paper and tight with thin twine, on the burning charcoal.
The interesting part comes now. They would cover the package and charcoal with soil. This way the meat was cooking slowly, for hours, underneath the ground without smoke. Guess what, the result was delicious! This method is still applied in many villages.
In Greece, you can find areas or islands where this traditional method is frequently used for festivities or family gatherings. Of course, there is a modern version which includes baking the paper-wrapped meat and vegetables in the oven. Wanna know how?