Magiritsa Soup with Lamb Shanks (not offal)

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Magiritsa soup is an essential Greek Easter dish. Find out my method to make it using lamb shanks instead of offal.

Magiritsa soup and Greek Easter go hand-in-hand. After fasting for 40 days, Greek Orthodox Christians break their fast after midnight church services with a heaping bowl of this lamb soup laced with an egg-lemon sauce.

The recipe is similar to Avgolemono Soup, which also has the egg-lemon sauce and rice. But that’s where the similarities end. It happens to be one of the more polarizing dishes of the holiday. Greeks traditionally make Magiritsa using the offal from their Easter lamb. And to some guts aren’t all that glorious. So I’m offering you an alternative recipe.

My family’s Magiritsa recipe

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, my smallish family didn’t have a reason to source a whole lamb on Easter (and therefore didn’t seek out the offal for their Magiritsa recipe). Instead my yiayia always used lamb shanks to make this soup. (I actually didn’t know that offal was traditional until much later in life.)

So what we make is a beautiful lamb broth using the shanks and aromatics like fennel, green onions, and dill. Then we cut up the lamb, add it back to the soup with rice, and fold in the avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce. My mother always made the soup a day or two ahead of time in her Greek Easter prep. Then she waited until right before we were ready to eat it to add the avgolemono sauce.

Avgolemono sauce tips

People get intimidated with avgolemono sauce — most popularly used in Avgolemono Soup (with chicken). However, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually really easy to master. The trick is to properly temper your eggs in the sauce, and take your soup off the heat to fold it in. That really eliminates the possibility that the sauce will curdle. Additionally, if you’re using a blender, adding some of the cooked rice to the sauce will also eliminate the chance for curdling.

Is Magiritsa a recipe you traditionally enjoy? Let me know about your family’s Easter traditions in the comments.

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