Magiritsa (pr. mah-ghee-RHEE-tsah), is a traditional Greek Easter offal soup which is the first thing served after the midnight mass on Saturday evening.
After the fasting period, which may be from a few days or up to forty eight days (and not forty as many think), this soup apart from delicious, is light and good for the stomach.
Magiritsa is made with some finely chopped baby lamb intestines as well as the lamb offal, finely chopped, lettuce coarsely chopped and blanched, dill and spices which are cooked until the offal are soft and then an avgolemono sauce is added, to thicken the soup.
I’ve seen recipes adding rice to this soup but traditional magiritsa does not have rice in it.
If you do not like offal, you can substitute them with oyster (pleurotus) mushrooms which have a meaty texture.
In some parts of Greece they make magiritsa either by adding tomato or by adding rice.
In our family we use neither rice or tomato, although in Sparta where we usually go for Easter they do use tomato in the sauce.
If you don’t like liver, you can substitute it with pleurotus (oyster) mushrooms.
This is the time when we also crack our Easter eggs and say “Christos Anesti” (Christ has risen from the dead).
We dye them red symbolizing the blood of Jesus and we crack them to remember the cracking of the stones when the earth opened and stones cracked during His resurrection.
Magiritsa is the Greek soup, made from lamb offal, lettuce and avgolemono sauce and the first meal served after the 40 days fasting of Lent.
1 lamb liver, including lungs and sweetbreads etc.
½ kilo lamb bowels
3 - 4 lettuces, depending on size, coarsely cut
½ cup olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped dill
1 cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 egg yolks
½ cup of lemon juice
1 tbsp corn flour (optional)
Wash the lettuce as well as the herbs.
Cut the lettuce in big pieces and boil for ten minutes and then strain them, adding some cold water.
Wash the offal and the bowels. Boil the liver, lungs, sweetbreads for ten minutes and after straining cut them in very small pieces (not bigger than 2 cm).
In a pot sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add the liver and bowels and sauté as well.
Add the lettuce, salt, pepper and water to cover and simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes.
Add the herbs and cook for five more minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
Prepare the avgolemono sauce (egg and lemon sauce).
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the lemon juice. While beating, add the corn flour and mix until it dissolves. Take a ladle of stock from your pot and slowly add it to your egg and lemon mixture while whisking.
Kokoretsi is a traditional Greek dish made mainly, but not only, during Easter, consisting mainly of seasoned pieces of lamb or goat offal (sweetbread, hearts, lungs, or kidneys), skewered on a spit and wrapped with lamb or goat caul fat and intestines and grilled together with the lamb.
Bogana is a traditional holiday dish from Argolida, with Leg of Lamb, roasted with whole baby potatoes and tomatoes. What makes it different and more delicious from other roasted lamb is the addition of ewe's and goat milk butter which gives its wonderful taste.
Patates Lemonates my way, are Greek Lemony Potatoes, which is a twist to the classic Greek side dish of roasted potatoes, with a sweet and sour taste. These Greek Lemon Potatoes are crispy from the outside and juicy from the inside with just the right amount of lemon flavors.
Flaounes pr. flah-OU-ness (singular flaouna) is a traditional Cypriot Easter cheese bread made with an aromatic yeasted phyllo dough, filled with a special Cypriot cheese, called Pafitiko, made during the Easter period especially for flaounes, flavoured with Masticha (mastic resin), mahlepi (mahleb) and mint.
Salads and Appetizers
A few ideas to make salads and appetizers for Easter
Melitzanosalata is a traditional Greek dip / appetizer made with eggplants which have been charred over charcoal or over an open flame, until the skin blisters, to get a smoky taste. The skin is then removed, as well as the seeds, if any, and the eggplant is either finely chopped, mashed with a fork or pureed.
Quiche, pronounced keesh, is a French, savoury open tart consisting of pastry crust, filled with eggs, milk or cream, and cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables. Discover a new twist I made to this French favourite with Greek cheeses.
An easy and delicious Greek Potato salad made with mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil and Greek yoghurt. It is perfect to accompany you meat dishes, served as a light dinner or even add it in your sandwiches.
Pirozhki or piroshki or Piroski (as we call them in Greece, with stress on the last syllable), are made from yeast dough and filled with a variety of fillings and are great for snacks, appetizers, lunch or dinner.
Everybody loves a good lamb pie wrapped in puff pastry and this one is made with leftover lamb on the spit, a few days after Easter with the addition of leeks, spring onions, dill and graviera cheese, which is just delicious!
Kantaifi (pronounced Ka-ta-ee-fi), is a pastry made with a special form of shredded phyllo dough which looks like angel pasta. It is used to make a delicious dessert called kantaifi, which encloses a filling with chopped almonds or walnuts (and sometimes other nuts), scented with rose water, ground cloves and cinnamon. When baked it is then drenched in an aromatic syrup.
Tsourekia and Koulourakia are the most traditional Greek Orthodox Easter desserts, made especially for this occasion.
Traditional Lambriatika Koulourakia (also called Paschalina Koulourakia), are Greek Easter butter cookies, which are traditionally made only during Easter and have a distinct flavour as baking ammonia is used as the leavening agent.
Cakes for Special Occasions
Here are some special cakes to celebrate your name day!
Tourta Fraoulita is a 100% homemade Strawberry Cake filled with strawberry yoghurt mousse and topped with strawberry white chocolate frosting, which I made from scratch to celebrate my husband's name day.