I love this moment from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, where Yiayia, sitting under a table at her great granddaughter’s high school’s college fair event, emerges from the tablecloth to cry, “Spanakopita!” 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
Greek spinach pie, spanakopita with feta cheese, is also called “Spanakotiropita.” I made this version for Easter dinner yesterday. It was a big hit with my family.
Here’s the recipe for my spanakopita with feta cheese, adapted from my Mothers’ Hellenic Cuisine 1956 cookbook by Saints Constantine and Helen Ladies Society.
One of the oldest Easter traditions for Greek Orthodox Christians are Easter eggs dyed red. In the Orthodox Church, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, and the hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ — the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.
You can dye eggs naturally using the skins of yellow onions. I used the skin of 10 small to medium sized yellow onions and all the skin that was loose in the net bag they come in from the market.
I’ll use these onions in the same pan that I roast the traditional Easter lamb on Sunday. They’ll work as a bed for the lamb to rest on, along with other herbs, in the roasting pan.
Cover the skins with approximately 6 cups of water and 8 tbsp. of white vinegar. Bring to a boil and let steep. The longer the skins steep the darker the color. I used brown eggs with yellow onions skins to get the deeper rusty red color.
You can hard boil the eggs with the skins or in the liquid after the skins have been removed. Bring the liquid back to boil and simmer the eggs for 5 to 8 minutes then take off the heat. Leave the eggs in the dye until they are cool.
You can also let the eggs cool in the dye and set in your fridge overnight.
Here’s the how-to video I followed, on dying eggs with onion skins, from my friend, Blogger and Greek Chef, Peter Minaki.
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 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!
Neo-Magiritsa soup, an updated recipe of a traditional Greek soup by Peter Minaki of Kalofagas. Magiritsa is a traditional Greek soup made for Orthodox Easter.
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]
garnish ½ fresh chopped dill [I used parsley]
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