A delicious vegetarian version of Magiritsa, the traditional soup enjoyed at midnight on Holy Saturday. Mushrooms cooked in a lettuce, spring onion and dill broth, and thickened with an egg-lemon sauce. And what better than to make it in the slow cooker?
I really wanted to make Magiritsa (pronounced mah-yee-REET-sah) in the slow cooker this year. I started off thinking I would make it like the soup we always had at Easter when I was growing up. Which is a tame version of the real thing. Let me explain.
The main Easter meal (on Easter Sunday) was traditionally an occasion to slaughter a lamb or kid (baby goat guys, baby goat), and this soup used the leftover parts so that nothing went to waste. That means offal (lungs, liver, intestines etc). It is still prepared this way today, and the main part of the animal is roasted on a spit over hot coals on the Sunday. The soup however is prepared on Holy Saturday and eaten upon return from midnight church service. It is a good way to prepare the stomach for the heavy meat-eating of the Easter meal, after 40 days of fasting for Lent. Traditionally, the soup is put on low heat to cook before leaving for church. (Aha, low heat, leaving it to cook while going out… you know where this is going)
Our family’s tame version of magiritsa had all the delicious green stuff, and only a little bit of liver (no intestines, no lungs etc). I hate liver, I always have. This was the only time Mrs. D. ever made me eat it (“it’s good for you”). And I was allowed to pick out some of the larger pieces. I so adored the rest of the soup that I put up with the little unpleasant surprises in some of the spoonfuls.
So, last week I thought I would make this version. Only I was, of course, going to make it in the slow cooker. Low heat, leaving it to cook while going out… Makes sense doesn’t it? Standing in the huge queue at the supermarket meat counter, I realized I was going to have to come back at 8:00am to find lamb’s liver. As I stood there absorbing this fact, I glanced at the other types of liver on display. And then it dawned on me. I am a grown up and I don’t have to eat liver at Easter anymore! I turned on my heel and rushed to the veggie section to find me some yummy mushrooms. Mushroom magiritsa is not an uncommon alternative nowadays, and I was looking forward to trying it. I’m so glad I did! And you know what? It doesn’t have to be Easter to enjoy this soup.