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.
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
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Prepare your Avgolemeno by beating the eggs in a separate bowl and slowly add a stream of lemon juice while beating.
- 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.
- Serve hot in bowls, with a side offering of the offal pieces, wedges of lemon and freshly ground black pepper.
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