Greek Easter is a festive time when family and friends come together and celebrate. It is a time when traditional Greek dishes are served in abundance, and lamb is at the center of most Easter meals. Lamb is a symbol of sacrifice and is a popular food item during this holiday, with many dishes using various parts of the lamb. One of the most popular dishes is Magiritsa, which is a lamb soup made with avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce, dill, and romaine lettuce.
Traditionally, Magiritsa is made with the intestines of the lamb. However, for those who are not fond of this ingredient, regular lamb meat can be used as a substitute. The broth is made by boiling lamb meat with onions, garlic, celery, and carrots until the meat is tender. Once the meat is cooked, the broth is strained, and the lamb meat is shredded and set aside.
To make the avgolemono sauce, eggs are beaten with lemon juice until they are frothy. The mixture is then slowly added to the hot broth while continuously stirring to prevent the eggs from curdling. Once the sauce is added, the soup is brought to a boil and then simmered for a few more minutes. Finally, chopped dill, romaine lettuce, and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil are added to the soup.
Magiritsa is traditionally served on Holy Saturday after the midnight church service. It is the first meat dish that is eaten after the 40-day lent, with the spit-roasted lamb coming the next day. The soup is a reminder of the sacrifices made during Lent.
Apart from Magiritsa, there are several other dishes that are traditionally served on Easter in Greece. One of the most popular dishes is lamb on the spit, which is a whole lamb that is skewered and roasted over an open flame. The lamb is seasoned with garlic, lemon, oregano, and olive oil and is cooked until the meat is tender and juicy.
Baked potatoes with lemon and herbs are another popular side dish that is served with Easter lamb. The potatoes are baked with lemon juice, olive oil, and a variety of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and oregano.
Greek Lemon and Garlic Potatoes
Cheese pies and meat pies made with lamb or goat meat, cheese, and mint are also popular Easter dishes. Kokoretsi, which is lamb liver with herbs wrapped with intestines and grilled on the spit, is a delicacy that is enjoyed by many Greeks during Easter.
Tzatziki, a yogurt-based dip made with garlic, cucumbers, and dill, is another staple of Greek cuisine and is often served as a side dish during Easter. Lamb chops on the grill, lamb stomach cut in pieces wrapped with intestines and dill, and legs of lamb in egg and lemon sauce are other popular lamb dishes that are served during Easter.
Loaded Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce with Fresh Dill, Garlic, and Cucumber
In addition to the savory dishes, Greeks also enjoy a variety of salads during Easter. Romaine lettuce salad with dill, green onions, olive oil, and vinegar is a simple yet delicious salad that is often served as a side dish.
Overall, Easter in Greece is a time for feasting and celebrating with family and friends. From Magiritsa to lamb on the spit, the traditional dishes served during this holiday are a testament to the rich history and culture of Greek cuisine.
Greek Easter Lamb Soup with Egg Lemon Sauce
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds lamb, bone in
- 10 green onions, chopped
- 5 cups water
- 2 bunches dill, chopped
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped very thin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 lemon juice
- 3 eggs
- Trim the lamb of most of the fat. Cut lamb into bite-sized pieces. If the bone is too thick to cut through, cut all the meat off, but save the bone.
- Add olive oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add lamb and bone(s) and saute for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add green onions and saute for another 3 minutes.
- Add 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.
- Add lettuce, dill, salt, and pepper. Simmer for one hour.
- In a bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice.
- While whisking, ladle 2 ladlefuls of broth from the soup very slowly into the egg-lemon mixture. Make sure to keep whisking the whole time. You're trying to bring the temperature of the eggs up.
- Turn off the stove and remove the pot from the heat. Pour in the egg-lemon sauce and stir the soup immediately.
- It is important to not cover the soup, as the eggs may solidify.
My family does not like lamb. Is it possible to make with another meat? Lamb is also hard to find on Maui especially on the bone.
I would try Stew Beef or Boneless Chicken Thighs.
Do you think that I can freeze this, or would I leave out the lettuce till reheated through. We love soups for winter.
But time poor, so I cook on one day, freeze soup and take out when needed.
I believe you can!
Wonderful Greek Easter soup. Please don’t alter it as it defeats the purpose. It’s part of Greek culture to have this after midnight mass, crack the colored eggs and have also some of the homemade tsoureki. Tradition has it after eating and drinking everything gets left on the table as is. Absolutely no doing dishes or cleaning up. It’s done the next morning. So alter any other soup but this soup.
We will not alter! Thanks for the comment!
Wonderful recipe. I made a few modifications based on ingredients I had at home such as using parsley instead of dill, white cabbage and a handful of spinach instead of lettuce. The instructions for adding the eggs was spot on. Thank you!
I have made this soup and it is absolutely delicious – I think it’s my favourite soup! I might be making it for an after-church meal and I am wondering if you knew how many servings this recipe yields – I need to know if I should be doubling it. Thanks!
It should serve at least 10 people. Glad you liked it!