Tradition is a great way of keeping touch with our heritage. Did you know that dietary limitations tied to big holidays are usually a well thought of a way to help your body prepare for each season and event? Such is the case with Easter Soup or magiritsa, a sort of stew made from lamb offal and greens, is eaten right after attending church in the very early hours of Sunday morning. A 40-day lent period is thus put to an end.
When I attended a cooking seminar by Chef Christoforos Peskias for the first time, he taught our class this recipe. I instantly fell in love with his cooking style and ethics! I am sharing it with you today, so you can have plenty of time to go and shop your mushrooms and rest of the ingredients. I never liked magiritsa before but this vegetarian variation of the recipe is a staple for me and my vegetarian friends. Happy Easter!
However, as I have made it over and over again, it is safe to tell you that you don’t need to strictly stick to the mushrooms suggested on the ingredients list. Choose any kinds you like, they all go great together, creating a deep and aromatic soup, ideal for your midnight dinner.
This is a much lighter version of the original recipe that easily stands next to it, regarding taste and satisfaction. Although Chef Mr Peskias loves adding some eggs whipped with lemon, to give the soup extra texture, I prefer the vegan alternative of simply adding fresh lemon juice…What will you do? The choice is yours!
Vegetarian Easter Soup – Magiritsa
500 g white mushrooms, quartered
500 g Portobello mushrooms, cut in big cubes
500 g Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus), cut in big cubes
500 g wild trumpet mushrooms, thoroughly washed
500 g Chanterelle mushrooms
75 ml olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup white dry wine
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 bunches arugula
lemon juice, to taste
1 fresh oregano sprig
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional for “Avgolemono”, egg & lemon sauce
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, freshly ground
1. In a large casserole pour 25 ml olive oil. Sauté the onions with the garlic and the celery until soft, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over a high heat sauté the white, Portobello and Oyster mushrooms, for 4 to 5 minutes (until they become golden). As each mushroom is sautéed add it to the casserole. When the sautéing is completed add enough water to the casserole to cover the mushrooms.
3. Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes (while the soup is simmering make sure to remove whatever froth forms from the top) then add the wild trumpet mushrooms, Chanterelle mushrooms, coriander, and the ground ginger. Simmer for another 10 minutes. If needed, add some water (but be careful not to add too much).
4. Add the arugula to the soup and remove the soup from the stove. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and taste.
5. Optional: You may make an egg/lemon sauce, “avgolemono” by beating 2 to 3 egg yolks in with the lemon and fold this egg/lemon mixture into the soup.
Combine the egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender and mix at a high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of hot juice from the soup, in a stream. Whisk well. Add the remaining 1 cup of stock whisk 3.
Place the sauce back in the soup and stir gently.
Servings 10 to 12