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....Easter in Greece
On Thursday morning the service commemorates the Last Supper and the Betrayal of Christ. This is the day that the hard-boiled eggs are dyed red, signifying the blood of Christ, and the Easter bread, called tsoureki, is baked.
The evening service is a long one and features twelve gospel readings. It is in this service that a two-dimensional figure of Christ on the cross is brought into the church and set up, while the church bells ring. In some places a vigil is kept in the church all night.
Magiritsa is the soup that Greeks break their 40 days fasting with after the midnight liturgy on Easter Saturday.
a lamb's liver, heart, lights and intestines
juice of 3 lemons
6 spring onions, trimmed, rinsed and finely sliced
25 gr. butter
2 cos lettuces, trimmed, shredded and rinsed carefully (use only their young leaves and hearts)
about a teacupful of fresh dill or fennel, rinsed and finely chopped, or parsley
1.2 lt hot water
salt and black pepper
60 gr. rice
juice of 2 lemons
Rinse all the meat. Turn the intestines inside out with the help of a thin stick and rinse them thoroughly. Rub them with salt and lemon juice and rinse them again. Cube them into small portions. In a large saucepan, sautee the onions in the butter, until they start to change colour. Add the chopped intestines, liver, lights and heart, fry together for a few minutes, stirring. Add the shredded lettuces and all the fresh herbs and sautee for a few more minutes. Add the hot water, and seasoning, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Then add the rice and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes, before proceeding with the avgolemono sauce. Add the Avgolemono Sauce to the soup, stirring. Return to a very gentle heat for 2 minutes, stirring at the same time. It should be by now a quite a thick soup.
The long iron spit ends in a handle and members of the family take it in turns to sit and turn it almost continually (Now there are machines doing that for us!). While the meat is cooking they brush on a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. A lamb roasted like this takes about 4 hours or less, presuming that it is of the desirable weight of 5 kgr maximum. It is vital that the lamb cooks very slowly, even if it takes longer than three hours. A clear indication that it is nearly cooked is when the flesh shrinks away from the bones. Please note that the fleshy parts (legs and shoulders) take longer to cook, so they draw most of the glowing embers to the two ends, making two small piles of them under the fleshy parts which gives those parts the extra heat they require, while the thin body is cooking at a slower speed. Serve with a lot of fresh season salad, taramosalata, melitzanosalata and Scarlet Easter Eggs.