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Mayiritsa: Traditional Greek Easter Soup

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Greek Easter Soup - Mayiritsa

Greek Easter Soup - Mayiritsa

N. Gaifyllia

In Greek: μαγειρίτσα, pronounced mah-yee-REET-sah

The main Easter meal (on Easter Sunday) has traditionally been an occasion to slaughter a lamb or goat, and this soup was designed to use the leftover parts so that nothing went to waste. This soup is prepared on Holy Saturday and eaten to break the fast after midnight church services. Traditionally, the soup is put on low heat to cook before leaving for church, and eaten on return. The recipe includes ingredients we use in Greece. For other versions, see the links below the recipe.

Cook Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • About 2 pounds of lamb or kid offal (liver, heart, lungs, and other organs)
  • Intestines from 2 lambs or kids
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2-3 rounded tablespoons of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, well washed and finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of short grain rice, well rinsed
  • ----------
  • FOR THE AVGOLEMONO (EGG-LEMON SAUCE)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Preparation:

Wash the organs and set aside to drain. Cut the intestines lengthwise with a scissors and clean well under running water. Rub them with coarse sea salt and the lemon juice, then clean again under running water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the organs. Boil for about 3 minutes then add the intestines and boil for another 5 minutes. Drain and chop into small pieces.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Sauté the onion and green onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the meat and sauté until browned (a few minutes). Add dill, salt, pepper, and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a slow boil and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Add the chopped lettuce to a large pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain. 40 minutes after the soup has been slow boiling, stir in the lettuce.

10 minutes before the end of cooking time, stir in the rice.

At the end of cooking time, remove the soup from the heat.

Make the avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce): Beat the egg whites until frothy. Continue beating and add the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of water, the lemon juice and several large spoonfuls of the soup broth. The key is to beat continuously. Add mixture to the soup, stir, and cover the pot with a towel. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: serves 8

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