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Mayeritsa Greek Easter Soup

TimeActive work time: 30 minutes Total preparation time: 1 1/2 hours
YieldsServes 8
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For Greeks, Easter Sunday is the biggest holiday of the year, a time when observant Greek Orthodox families and friends gather to share a bountiful feast after the 40 days of fasting during Lent and Holy Week. Traditionally, mayeritsa, which is only prepared at this time of year, is used to break the fast after the Saturday midnight church service. Authentically, it is made with lamb heart, lungs and other organ meats, though these days adaptations are permissible. After the long fast, this soup is soothing to the stomach and a gentle break from the fast.

From the story: Red Eggs and Lamb Soup for Easter

1

Place the lamb, water, carrots, celery, yellow onion, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt and pepper in a 6-quart saucepan and bring to boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, 1 1/2 hours.

2

Remove the meat; strain the juices into a bowl. Discard the vegetables. Put the bowl in the freezer until the fat has solidified enough to skim from the top, about 45 minutes. Discard the fat and cut the meat from the bones. Chop the meat into small pieces; set aside.

3

Pour the defatted juices into a small, 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the bouillon cubes and stir to dissolve. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4

Melt the butter in a 6-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the green onions and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour until blended. Add the dill, parsley and rice and mix well. Cook on low heat for a couple of minutes and add the chopped meat. Pour in the broth. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the rice is done, 15 to 20 minutes.

5

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Gradually beat in the lemon juice. Add a ladle of the soup from the pot to the egg mixture while beating the eggs. Gradually add a second ladle. Pour the egg mixture into the soup gradually while continuously stirring. Cook the soup another 3 minutes; do not allow it to boil. Remove from the heat.

This recipe comes from Cosmas Kapantzos of the Astroburger restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.