Magiritsa (Greek: μαγειρίτσα) is a traditional Greek soup made from lamb offal, associated with the Easter tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church. Accordingly, it is sometimes called "Easter soup", "Easter Sunday soup", or "Easter lamb soup" by Greek-Americans or Greek-Canadians. In some parts of Greece, most notably Thessaly, it is not served as soup but rather as a fricassee, where it contains only offal and a large variety of vegetables, but no onions or rice, as in the soup.
Magiritsa is eaten to break the 40-day fast undertaken by Greek Orthodox followers during Lent. Its role and ingredients result from its association with the roasted lamb traditionally served at the Paschal meal; in its traditional form, magiritsa simply consists of all the offal removed from the lamb before roasting, and subsequently flavored with seasonings and sauces. Prepared by Greek housewives on Holy Saturday along with the next day's lamb, magiritsa is consumed immediately after the Pascha midnight mass. The dish is particularly thick and filling, making it a satisfying meal for breaking the fast.
Ingredients and preparation
While traditional magiritsa includes all the lamb offal available, it is the head and neck of the lamb which provide most of the soup's flavor, and those parts, along with the intestines and liver, are most commonly used today.
After a thorough cleaning, the lamb parts are boiled whole in water for between thirty minutes and two hours, then cut up into smaller pieces, flavored with onions, dill, butter and sometimes vegetables, and left to simmer. Rice is added towards the end of the boiling process, and the stock is thickened with avgolemono.
When consumed the wee hours of the Paschal morning after church, magiritsa is sometimes accompanied by salad and cheese, tsoureki sweet bread, and hard-boiled eggs dyed red as a symbol of the risen Christ's blood.
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