Greek Easter is upon us and this means time to dye the eggs, make the koulourakia (Smyrneika of course!) and my all time favourite soup...Magiritsa.
Now a lot of people are a bit squirmish when they find out that the main protein in the soup is offal, which sorry, I find totally ridiculous! Magiritsa is the meal that is served after midnight mass on Saturday night after 40 days of fasting. Fasting the Greek way is abstaining from meat, dairy and on some days olive oil. Still not sure why olive oil is forbidden but olives aren't !!
Recipe - Magiritsa
5 lamb shanks
lamb bones or lambs head
2 lamb hearts
2 lamb lungs
1 bunch spring onions finely chopped
1 bunch mint finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup medium grain rice
2 fresh eggs
juice of 2 lemons
Step 1. Simmer the lamb hearts and lungs for 30 minutes. Do the same for the tripe in a separate pot. Remove the offal, let cool and then dice into 1cm uniform pieces.
Step 2. Make a stock from the lamb head, bones and shank. Add these ingredients to a large pot and cover with cold water. Ensuring that the ingedients are covered with liquid throughout the cooking process. You may have to add more water. Add salt to taste. Cook for about 2 hours until tender. Make sure that through the cooking process you remove the scum that floats to the top. The stock should be clear.
Step 3. Remove shanks etc, allow to cool and remove ALL meat from bones, shanks and head. From the head I tend to use the cheeks and tongue. Cut all meat into small pieces.
Alternatively you can take the whole cooked head, place on a tray season with salt, pepeper and oregano and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and bake for about 20 minutes until it crisps up slightly. YUM!!! No eyeballs for me thanks but my loves them!!!
Step 4. For the soup. Saute the onion & spring onions until soft and translucent. DO NOT COLOUR. Add the offal pieces and herbs and stir well. Add the reserved stock (strain it) and simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Taste and season appropriately. ½ an hour before the soup is ready add the rice and continue to simmer until the rice is soft. At this stage add the meat from the stock.
Step 5. To finish the soup you make the avgolemono.
Whisk 2 eggs in a bowl until frothy add the lemon juice and continue to whisk. I cheat at this stage and add a mixture of 2 teaspoon cornflour and water which has been mixed together. Slowly add the hot broth from the soup ladle at a time to the egg mixture ensuring to whisk at the same time so the eggs don’t curdle. When you have incorporated about ½ the saucepan full of liquid to the egg mixture pour into the saucepan and simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with more salt pepper and lemon if you need.
|Mum preparing the herbs and springs onions|
|in goes the offal|
|Finished product - delicious...The herbs and the lemon in the soup makes this extra special|
Mmmm.....8 nights to go!!!!!