Did you know: Kleftigo

Did you know…?

The famous Cypriot dish –  Kleftigo – was originally a ‘stolen meat’? 

Back in the 19th century, there was a band freedom fighters called Kleftes, who opposed the Ottoman Empire. They lived (well, hid!) in the mountains. They slept during the day, and fought during the night.

Since they did not own any animals themselves, they stole lamb or goat from other people’s flocks¹ (most likely the Ottomans!). They placed the meat wrapped in a hole in the ground, and left it there for a while.

Imagine it: after fighting all night, you come home to dig up the same spot, and to find the ‘stolen meat’ has turned itself into a dinner… Due to Cyprus being a hot country, the earth turned into an oven, and had cooked the meat into a dinner! Today, Kleftigo is cooked in clay ovens. However, it is unclear when this dish stopped being the freedom fighter food, and became a dish of the common people.

This was a firm favourite of my childhood. Beautiful lamb cooked slowly in the oven for hours. It falls off the bone when you cut it, it melts in your mouth when you eat it, and tastes oh-so-very-good!

I still love it today. And I probably will forever!

Kleftigo with chips. Normally, it is with full potatoes. Source: about.greekfood.com.
¹ Wikipedia, Greek Cuisine, 'Meat and Seafood dishes', http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_cuisine, (n.d), [accessed: 22 April 2015]. 
In response to Writing 101: - Day Ten: Happy, and Day Eleven; Size Matters.

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