Magheritsa






I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this traditional Greek Easter Soup but Easter would not be complete without Magheritisa.

Magheritsa is a soup make from the broth of lamb offal and any other part of the lamb (combination varies from family to family).

After a long Lenten Fast, Magheritisa is the first substantive meal most Greeks will put to their mouths…almost immediately after arriving back home after Saturday midnight mass.

Attendance of this mass is so popular that all Greek churches overflow with parishioners standing around the perimeter of the church to take part in the mass with those fortunate (or patient enough) to arrive early for a seat inside the church.

At the stroke of midnight, the Parish Priest will hold up the Holy Light and one by one, parishioners will light their candles and everyone will shout, Hristos Anesti (Christ has risen)!

The customary “cracking of the eggs” will also take place and then each family will make it’s way back home to have the traditional Magheritsa.

For those families (or individuals) who are sheepish about offal, serve it separately in a bowl and allow those who enjoy it to add it back to their soups. For others such as myself, will eat it with just the lamb meat, rice and Spring herbs.

This is another Greek dish where Avgolemono rounds out the Spring flavours of lamb, dill, scallions and parsley. For the best results, start making the broth 1 day ahead of Greek Easter so as to chill and skim off any excess fat.

Magheritsa

1 kg. lamb offal (liver, heart, lungs, etc.)
1 head of a lamb
1 kg. lam shoulder

3 bunches of scallions, finely chopped 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, finely chopped

1/2 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped 1/2 cup Arborio rice
3 quarts of water
salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

  1. Bring the offal and other lamb parts to a boil, add salt and simmer for 90 minutes or until the meat is tender enough to flake off the bone. Remember to skim off the scum as it forms on the surface.
  2. Strain the stock from the meat and chill overnight. The next day you will be able to skim the excess fat from the stock. Cut the offal and lamb meat into bite-sized pieces, discard the bones and reserve.
  3. In a large pot, add your butter over medium-high heat and add your scallions, lettuce, parsley and dill and simmer covered until softened (about 15 minutes).
  4. Add your stock and rice and lamb pieces and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and reserve.
  5. Prepare your Avgolemeno by beating the eggs in a separate bowl and slowly add a stream of lemon juice while beating.
  6. Take a ladle of stock from the soup and add it to your Avgolemeno while beating. Now add the contents of the bowl back into your soup and stir the soup for about 5 minutes to form your Avgolemeno soup.
  7. Serve hot in bowls, with a side offering of the offal pieces, wedges of lemon and freshly ground black pepper.

© 2008,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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31 Comments for “Magheritsa”

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

You Greeks are a passionate bunch, aren’t you. Soup looks delicious. For my family, I’ll have to serve it on the side….

Peter G

says:

Your soup looks exactly like my father makes it. The offal, the rice, broth, all finished off with avgolemono. Nicely done Pete!

Lore

says:

I live next to a church and that is the exact sight of our Saturday midnight mass :))

Great Magheritsa photos!

Sam Sotiropoulos

says:

Peter, your magheiritsa looks tremendous!

Now, I recognize St. Nick’s in the second photo, but which church is that in the first?

giz

says:

My warped sense of humour got me chuckling reading Pixie’s comment that said something about “a soup after my heart”.. Considering the soup is organ meats…uhm…er…uhm…

Bellini Valli

says:

I remember now that the soup I had in Athens was called Patsa. I didn’t have a hangover so I don’t know if it would cure it or not. Thanks for sharing this traditional soup and Easter traditions with us:D

glamah16

says:

I’ll take a bowl with the lamb meat, no offal. It does look like a flavorful soup.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

says:

The soup looks great! I’m pretty adventurous with food, so I’d try it. ;)

Cakelaw

says:

Gorgeous church – I have a friend who was married in a Greek Orthodox church, and I was bowled over by how ornate it was. A very interesting soup – thanks for sharing another Greek tradition with us

Peter M

says:

Nina, it’s a wonderful Spring soup…organ meat on the side, indeed.

Pete, good to see that our families share similar Magheritsa recipes.

Pixie, do you realize how funny that pun was?

Lore, us Greeks cause havoc in your neighborhood once a year…for Easter.

Sam, the important is that it was delish and all pics are of St. Nick’s.

Giz, I too got a good chickle from the Pixster’s clever pun!

Yes Val, the hangover soup is Patsa…how many bowls did you have?

Glam, one bowl comin’ up?

Sticky, you get a gold star for being adventurous.

Cake, Greek churches are beautiful, serene, spiritual, every inch planned out.

Laurie Constantino

says:

I’ve just had such fun catching up with your blog. Galaktoboureko, my favorite dessert ever, mayeritsa which i love, and your tagine have all got me drooling. You’re making fabulous food Peter; I’m so glad to know you!

Nicole

says:

I love all the photos of your Easter celebration and food. What a great time.

Núria

says:

Sounds like a delicious soup to me, Peter. However the lemon gives a 180º twist to what I’m used to!

It’s great to know about your traditions… thanks for the pictures too!

We Are Never Full

says:

i know i say it all the time, but seriously, this really looks awesome. i really want to make this. i HEART offal!

Janulka

says:

Hi Peter, your mageiritsa looks as my mother’s-in-law, just that she uses goat (nobody in our family likes lamb), she cuts alls the innerparts in very small pieces. I like it very much. But your mageiritsa looks almost the same, well done!

Anna

says:

i made a pretty good vegetarian version of this once using mushrooms.
if you get oysters mushrooms they almost look like pieces of lamb meat floating in the soup and may fool carnivores…but not for long.
it’s got to be lambs offal or it’s just not magaritsa!

Sharlene

says:

I usually make this for Easter but only using lamb liver and hearts. Nice soup but I am glad it’s only a once-a-year affair :)

says:

[…] Magheritsa  contains lamb offal and Spring greens and finished off with a hand-beaten Avgolemono mixture. Beyond Magheritsa’s tradition, it also serves as a functional use during Easter. That is to say that Magheritsa serves as a bridge between fast and feast. This soup allows your digestive system to ease into the next day’s onslaught of food. […]