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Arni Sto Fourno (Greece)


There are few dishes as stereotypically Greek as roast lamb. With the weather starting to get cold as we move towards Autumn, what better way to celebrate stick-to-your-ribs comfort food?


If we were REALLY doing this right, we would roast a whole lamb on a spit in your front yard. But that might upset the neighbors, the police, and the homeowners’ association, so we’ll do something in the oven


Arni sto Fourno (αρνι στο φουρνο), which means “oven-roasted lamb,” is a recipe I’m using from the restaurant where I met my wife 15 years ago. In fact, this is the very dish I had that night, which is a good way to know that it’s the real deal - I mean, it was fifteen years ago.


The restaurant, the Greek Islands, calls it Arni Fournou, but whatever you call it, it’s super simple. Chunk up some potatoes, throw in chopped tomatoes, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Then nestle in four lamb shanks, of about a pound each (500 g). 


This recipe ( comes from the Greek Islands, via the files of Check Please!, a public television staple in Chicago, in which each of three average viewers invites the other two to their favorite local restaurant. I wish every town had that show - it does a terrific job in introducing viewers to cuisines, neighborhoods, and establishments they would never have considered otherwise. (


Serves 4



  • 4 lbs/2 kg lamb shanks (four, about 1 lb/500 g each)

  • 2 lbs/1 kg peeled russet potatoes, cut into wedges

  • 1 cup/240 ml chopped tomato

  • 9 cloves chopped garlic

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 cup/240 ml fresh lemon juice

  • 1 cup/240 ml olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon/5 ml oregano (Greek or Turkish - not Mexican)



  1. Simply mix the above ingredients in a deep baking pan, fully coating the lamb in the marinade.

  2. Preheat oven to 275-325° F / 135-160° C (depending on the actual heat that your oven produces - if it runs hot, set the temp lower).

  3. Bake the lamb for 2 hours, turning the pieces over after the first hour.

  4. Serve the lamb with the potatoes and use a bit of the remaining juices to pour over the dish.

Recipe adapted from

Photograph by Drew Vahrenkamp

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