What does Greek Easter tradition mean? But what about spring, flowering meadows, overflowing, bright light, candles, and tables set up in the courtyards? The images of Easter in Greece are very strong, and for many, this holiday is the favorite of the year. The decapitation, the procession of the Epitaph, the anticipation of the day of the Resurrection, the loud bells on Holy Saturday, the traditional cooking, and the cracking of the eggs are just a few images that should come to mind when someone is mentioning the Greek Easter.
The craving to carry the Holy Light home after the Resurrection, crack eggs, and eat traditional cooking is sweetly mixed with the anticipation for the next day, Easter Sunday. Lamb, of course, does not matter if it is on a spit or in the oven, but it can be sweet and sour, stuffed, even with yogurt. Certainly, in addition to potatoes, salads, sweets, and side dishes that every place knows how to make unique, there is also the wine, tsipouro, raki, music, and, of course, family and friends. So, let’s get to know some of the most famous Greek Easter tradition dishes
1. Greek Easter traditional Magiritsa
Magiritsa is the most popular food in the Greek Easter tradition that people eat in order to break the Greek Orthodox fast, which lasts 40 days and begins 40 days before Easter. Its role and ingredients result from its association with roasted lamb. The latter is served as an Easter meal; in its traditional form, magiritsa consists of the offal removed from the lamb before roasting, flavored with seasonings and sauces. Greek people prepare it on Holy Saturday along with the next day’s lamb, magiritsa is a food that people will eat immediately after the midnight Divine Liturgy at a big family table. So, let’s see how you can make it.
Greek Easter Magiritsa recipe
- 1 kilo lamb pluck, lamb
- 2 slices lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-15 peppercorns
- 4-5 tablespoons
- olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 50 g white wine
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1-1/2 liter water
- 5-6 spring onions
- 1 lettuce
- 1/4 bunch dill
- 100 g round grain rice
- For the egg-lemon sauce; lemon zest of 2 lemons and lemon juice of 2 lemons
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
Firstly, place a pot with water over high heat until it boils. After that, add the lamb pluck, lemon slices, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns, and boil for 10-15 minutes. Regularly skim the foam. Drain and throw the water away. Then, place the pot over high heat again, and add the olive oil. In the meantime, finely chop the onion and the garlic, and add them to the pot. Add the rosemary and sauté. Cut the lamb pluck into small pieces, add them to the pot, and sauté for 8-10 minutes.
Then, deglaze with the wine, add the bouillon cube, and the water, seal with the lid and boil at medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Then, cut the spring onions into rounds, the lettuce, and the dill into large pieces, and add them to the pot. Keep the green part of the spring onions and 1 tablespoon of the dill. Add the rice, seal with the lid and boil at medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
For the egg-lemon sauce, add in a bowl the lemon zest and juice, the eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix with a hand whisk. Slowly add 5-6 ladlefuls of the magiritsa’s stock, by stirring continuously. Then, transfer the mixture into the pot again, mix for a few seconds by shaking the pot, and remove from the heat. Add the dill into the pot, the green part of the spring onions, salt, and pepper, and mix. Serve with olive oil, dill, lemon wedges, and pepper.
2. Greek Easter traditional Lamb
First of all, you need to know that there is not a single chance that you will find a table in Greece on Easter without lamb on it. Even for someone who does not eat lamb, there are recipes to substitute it with something similar. The religious connection of lamb, though, goes back to the Jewish Passover. It symbolizes the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Before leaving, however, they ate the lamb as a sacrifice for the salvation of their nation along with unleavened bread and bitter greens ( here are the origins of magiritsa). This meal was adapted, later, to the Greek culture for the celebration of Orthodox Easter. So, let’s see how we can cook lamb with sweet and sour pomegranate sauce.
Greek traditional lamb recipe
- 2 kilos of fried lamb
- 4 tablespoons Sustainable Olive Oil Village
- 4 dried onions
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4 carrots
- 4 teaspoons pomegranate juice
- Or teaspoon grated cumin
- 4 cups white dry wine
- 1 cup of tea flour
- Salt Pepper
Firstly, wash and cut the lamb into small portions, which we lightly flour. Peel the onions and carrots and cut them into slices. Then peel the garlic and cut it into slices. Put the Village Sustainable Olive Oil in a saucepan and sauté the lamb until golden brown. Remove the meat to a plate and continue to sauté the onions, garlic and carrots. Add the meat, stir lightly and simmer with the wine. Add salt, pepper and cumin and a little water (check it constantly during cooking) and continue cooking for about 1 ½ with 2 hours. 10 minutes before we finish cooking (when the meat shows that it is done, but it still holds), add the pomegranate juice and simmer until the sauce becomes more stiff.
3. Greek Easter traditional Bread – Tsoureki
At this point, I have to mention that not everything regarding the Greek Easter tradition is connected to meat. One of my personal favorites is the Greek Easter bread or Tsoureki. While this Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) is traditionally served on Easter and the three braids symbolize the Holy Trinity, it is also very popular throughout the year as a delicious mid-day snack, breakfast or tea, or coffee companion. The name “tsoureki” comes from the Turkish word “corek” which refers to a word from bread that contains yeast, while there are many types of corek, both savory and sweet, which appear in different shapes and sizes depending on the region. So, if you ever visit Greece during the Easter period, I strongly suggest that you tried Tsoureki from a local bakery. You can, also, learn how to make it at home by clicking here.
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