Easter is the most important religious holiday in Greece and is celebrated with reverence throughout the country.  The people used to fast for forty days before Easter but nowadays they usually fast during the holy week, and especially on holly Friday when Jesus died on the cross. On that day people exclude even olive oil from their diet.

On Holy Saturday, everybody prepares for the resurrection of Jesus which will take place at midnight. The Eternal Light is brought in the morning by military jet from the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem and distributed to all the churches in Greece. At night the people go to the churches carrying large candles. The children’s candles are decorated with bows, flowers, action figures, dolls etc.   At some point during the service the priest distributes the eternal light to the faithful and they all light their candles with this light. At the end of the midnight service of the resurrection, the people return home carrying their lighted candles, where this traditional soup is waiting for them. After the long period of fasting, they start eating meat again, so they need something light. They also have the Easter sweet bread and try to crack each other’s red eggs. If you like offal – lungs, liver, heart, you will love this soup.

Ingredients
The offal from a lamb – liver, lungs, heart (and intestines if you wish)
5 – 6 spring onions finely chopped
½ cup rice
Leaves from 3 – 4 large lettuces, washed well and finely chopped
1 – 2 cups finely chopped dill
½  cup olive oil
2 – 3 egg yolks
Juice of 1 – 2 lemons
Salt, pepper

 

Directions

Wash the offal, and if you use the intestines as well, you have to wash them very well under running water to remove the impurities inside.  Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the offal and intestines for about 4 – 5 minutes. Drain and when cool enough to handle chop it up into small pieces.

In a large pot add the oil and sauté the spring onions for a few minutes until translucent and then add the offal cut in small pieces and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring. The onions and the offal should not brown at all. Add enough hot water to cover the offal, cover the pot and simmer at low heat until almost tender. Add the rice and a couple cups of water and simmer until it is almost done, and finally add the lettuce. Simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes more. Add salt and pepper, stir, taste and adjust seasonings. See that there is enough water, so that the soup is not too thick.

Prepare the egg-lemon sauce. Beat lightly the egg yolks and add the lemon juice, beating constantly. Continue beating while adding some of the hot soup. Pour the egg-lemon sauce into the pot with the soup and stir lightly.  Turn off the stove and remove the pot from the heat. Place the lid on and leave it for 5 minutes. Now the soup is ready to be served. Usually there are no leftovers, but if there are they can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.

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