Tucked away in Cyprus’ Troodos foothills, Apokryfo (meaning “hidden”) certainly lives up to its name. A group of tumbledown houses transformed into a beautiful boutique guesthouse, it’s where we ate our favourite Cypriot meal. We wanted to share those tasty delights with you, so voila – here’s a mouthwatering recipe for kleftiko (slow-cooked goat or lamb) and potato antinaktes.
Kleftiko (meaning ‘’stolen’’) was created in the 1820s by revolutionaries who were fighting the Ottomans in the mountains. They pilfered goat or lamb, foraged herbs, and cooked them up on a fire completely covered in earth to stop the smoke or smell giving away their location.
At Apokryfo they make kleftiko with goat’s meat (preferably the shoulder) in a parcel of greaseproof paper. Herbs, bay leaves, carob- or olive-tree leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt give the dish its smoky taste. It’s all wrapped up in aluminium foil and cooked for least 3 hours; the longer, the better. The result is beautifully tender meat that simply falls off the bone.
For the kleftiko
1kg goat or lamb (preferably ribs and shoulder), chopped into fist-sized pieces
Salt, pepper, oregano and rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
4 bay leaves
A small branch of leaves from a carob tree, an olive tree or any aromatic tree available in your region (oak etc)
30ml of cognac
Place the tree branches in a parcel of greaseproof paper
Place the meat pieces on top of the leaves
Add salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary and olive oil, and make sure that all the meat is seasoned with the mixture
Add the bay leaves
Drizzle over the cognac
Close the parcel well and seal with aluminium foil
Place the parcel in a roasting pan and add 2-3 glasses of tap water (depending on the size of the pan)
Bake in a hot oven (250 C or more) for a minimum of 3.5 hours
Make sure that there is water in the roasting pan at all times. For more tender results, you can bake for a longer period at 150 C, adding water to the pan so that it doesn’t go dry
If you’d like to add a bit of colour to the dish, open the parcel 10-15 minutes before you serve to brown the meat.
Remove the foil and serve on a plate in the greaseproof paper.
For the potato antinaktes
12-16 baby potatoes
Salt, pepper and olive oil
½ cup dry white wine (or red wine, if you prefer)
2 tbsp coriander seeds
Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water
Lightly crush the potatoes
Add a little olive oil to a deep frying pan and fry the potatoes lightly
Add the white wine if you like the potatoes to stay blonde, or red wine If you like them to have a deep reddish colour
Add the coriander seeds and pepper
It is important not to break the potatoes so that they stay rounded with their skin, and shine from the olive oil.