Last Sunday was Greek Easter and as always my family gathered for the day and dinner. The weather was beautiful. We grilled our leg of lamb outside. The boys ran around, played in the yard on the green grass and on my green swing. They were having too much fun for a serious photo.
I added one new recipe to my menu this Easter. I made Greek Easter soup, Magiritsa. This recipe takes me back to fond memories of my Yiayia Yeoryia (Georgia). She made it every Easter with the offal (organ meat) from the spring lamb. May her memory be eternal.
Per Wikipedia: “Magiritsa is a Greek soup made from lamb offal, associated with the Easter tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church. Accordingly, Greek-Americans and Greek-Canadians sometimes call it “Easter soup”. Don’t be confused by the different phonetic spellings of magiritsa/magheritsa. If you Google either you’ll get at least 1,000 results.
I decided to make a simpler version and used Peter Minaki’s Neo-Magheritsa recipe.
I boiled lamb trimmings from the Eastern Market butcher shop where we purchased our leg of lamb. I added carrots, leeks, salt, peppercorns and a bouquet garni of parsley stems. I did this on Saturday, the day before Easter. After the mixture came to a rigorous boil and simmered, I drained the broth and refrigerated it.
On Sunday morning I skimmed off all the fat that had floated to the top. Refrigeration provides an easy way to remove the fat from broths.
Then on Sunday before dinner, I brought the broth back to a boil, added orzo and simmered for 9 minutes. My daughter-in-law, Erin and I added the avgolemono. Tempering eggs is so much easier with extra hands. We used an immersion blender for the eggs and for tempering them with the broth.
I garnished the magiritsa soup with parsley (instead of the traditional dill). My entire family loved it.
Thank you Peter for your easy and modern recipe. I know Yiayia Yeoryia was looking down at us and was pleased. Christos Anesti!
- 1½ kg. of lamb shoulder [or other cuts like shank, ribs, necks]
- Enough water to cover the meat
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 12 scallions, sliced [I used 2 leeks]
- ½ bunch finely chopped dill
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup Arborio rice [I used Orzo]
- salt and pepper to taste [I added a bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs tied together with cheese cloth]
- 2 eggs
- 2 lemons
- garnish ½ fresh chopped dill [I used parsley]
- lemon wedge
- BROTH - Rinse your lamb pieces and place in a large pot
- Cover with enough water to just cover the meat
- Add about Tbsp. of sea salt
- Cover and bring to a boil then lower and simmer for about 2½ hours or until the meat falls off the bone
- Remove from the heat, adjust seasoning if necessary
- Remove meat and pull off the bone, remove any fat and cartilage
- Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces
- Add the hot stock, meat, rice, parsley, dill and bring up to a boil then lower to medium and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked [This is where I added the leeks, carrots, and bouquet garni]
- AVGOLEMONO - Crack your eggs in a bowl and add the juice of 2 lemons and whisk until just frothy
- Once the rice is cooked in the soup, remove from the heat and slowly add hot stock into your bowl of egg and lemon while whisking
- While whisking add about 4-5 more ladles to temper and the heat of the egg/lemon mixture
- Pour the tempered egg/lemon mixture back into the soup pot, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add the remaining ½ cup fresh dill