Greek vegetarian soup with mushrooms (Magiritsa)
Time flies so fast! With all these unfortunate things that are happening around us, we almost didn’t realize that Greek Easter is just around the corner; it’s the lockdown’s side effects.
On the positive side, being at home all the time nowadays, gave us the opportunity to spent time with family and loved ones and explore more in cooking and baking.
We love baking our own bread, and this way we avoid going out one more time, to get to a bakery. Being so easy (the no-knead dough, is a revelation!!!) to do, we bake every weekend, making the week’s bread. We usually bake two loafs. One of them goes to the freezer for later consumption.
Did we mention gardening? Yes gardening! We found that it’s quite relaxing. Panos’ parents were kind enough to give us a piece of their garden, to plant whatever we like. So, we started planting. We have planted thyme, some lettuces, spearmint, coriander, garlic and corn so far.
Corn is our latest addition. We were making popcorn for a movie night and we thought “Why don’t we plant some of those corn seeds and see if they can grow?”. Well, why not.
Of course, we haven’t stop taking pictures. We take pictures of almost anything but we especially like photos of flowers and bees. We are doing bee-watching! This is our latest thing lol!
Drinking our beverage on our porch, early afternoon and watching the bees on the plants.
Flowers, bees, planting, gardening, remind us of spring. And subsequently spring reminds us of Easter. Easter is our top religious celebration here in Greece. There are so many traditions that we follow, especially during the Holy Week. We had posted about them on our Tsoureki recipe (link) and we think you’ll love reading about them. It’s a time of the year that’s very dear to us. But this year, it will be quite different for so many.
The Magiritsa soup
One of the traditional dishes people prepare on Holy Week here in Greece, is a traditional soup that is served on Holy Saturday for supper. We call this soup Magiritsa. What is Magiritsa soup?
The original Magiritsa is a soup made with dill or fennel fronds, greens like lettuce, and lamb’s liver and/or other offal, in egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono).
Back in the old days people were using lamb’s liver and/or other offal to make this soup because they didn’t want anything from the animal they were sacrificing to go to waste. They were frugal and they were really into zero-waste. It wasn’t trendy back then; it was just the way of living.
But in our days people use only liver -like we also do ourselves- as we find that it tastes much better if you only use that as the main protein source. However, many people may not be into offal, we get it. That’s why we tried a vegetarian version of the soup, using mushrooms. The result was surprisingly delicious. Even of you are not a vegetarian, you must try this one out.
The vegetarian version (Magiritsa 2.0)
The recipe we share with you in this post, is one of our oldest recipes. We originally posted it back in 2013. That year, we wanted to make a magiritsa soup, that would be delicious, hearty, comforting and light for the stomach, since the consumption of the soup is taking place after midnight and the celebration of the Resurrection. We chose to replace liver with mushrooms and as we mentioned the result was delicious. The photo of the dish however…emmm…well… not so much! It was from our first attempts to post something as food bloggers. The means we had were practically non-existent and the quality of the photos very poor.
We thought that this soup deserves so much better. Why? Because we loved this soup so much that it became an all year-round dish and we believe it may become one of your favorites too. So, we like making it even if it’s not Holy Saturday. It’s a hearty, healthy and comforting soup that is really easy to prepare.
You can try it with egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono) or if you don’t want (or like) eggs in your diet, you can omit the eggs and simply add the lemon juice in the soup. Which by the way tastes amazing too! So, if you are a vegan, you can also enjoy this soup.
For this recipe we chose common mushrooms (champignon / white button mushrooms) and cut them into quarters. But you can use any type of mushroom you like or a mix of mushrooms for a richer taste.
Since we love this soup so much, we decided to remake the post.
We also updated and adjusted some of the quantities of the ingredients to make it more accurate. The rest is the same-old, tried and true recipe.
So, let’s cook this delicious soup once more! :)
- 250ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large lettuce (about 400g / 14oz), chopped in large strips (about 3-4cm/1-1.5inch wide)
- 1 bunch of dill (about 120gr/4.2oz), finely chopped
- 3 large spring onions, cut into 1cm/0.5inch thick slices
- 500-600gr/17.5-21oz (1.1-1.3lb) champignon (common) mushrooms, in thick slices or quarters*
- 1 medium sized onion (150g / 5oz), chopped
- 250ml (1 cup) of white wine
- 1,5lt / 6 cups warm water
- salt and pepper
For the egg-lemon sauce
- 2 eggs separated (yolks and whites)
- the juice from a large lemon
* You can also use portobello, oyster, porcini or a mixture of your favorite mushrooms
Pour the olive oil in a large pot and put it on medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion (but not the spring onions), and cook for 3-4 minutes (pic.1). Add the mushrooms and cook until all the moisture is evaporated and the they start frying (pic.2). It will take some time.
Pour the wine and deglaze (pic.3). Add the (hot) water and lower the heat to medium-low (pic.4).
Simmer with the lid partially on, for about 10 minutes (pic.5). Add all the vegetables (dill, lettuce, spring onions) and cook for another 35 minutes with the lid partially on (pic.6). Remove from heat, add the salt and the pepper and start making egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono).
For the egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono)
Put the egg whites with a pinch of salt in large bowl, and whisk until frothy. Add the yolks while whisking vigorously (pic.7). Slowly add the lemon juice while still whisking (pic.8).
The next step requires your attention:
Using a ladle, take some of the soup's broth and start adding it to the egg-lemon mix, while whisking vigorously (pic.9). Be careful to add the broth slowly, as the purpose of this process, is to raise the temperature of the egg-lemon mixture to the one of the soup. You don't want the eggs to become solid/cooked. You need about 3 ladle scoops to achieve that. The result must be a hot yellowish frothy sauce. If some of the vegetables are dropped into the egg-lemon mixture there’s no problem.
Once the egg-lemon sauce is ready, pour it back into the soup (pic.10).
Grab the pot from its handles and swirl lightly for a few seconds. The soup is now ready to be served (pic.11). Kali oreksi!
1. If you don't want to use eggs, you can replace the egg-lemon sauce, by just adding the juice of one lemon at the end of your cooking. For a thicker result, you can also dissolve a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch in the juice of a lemon and add it to the soup. In this case, bring it back to a boil, stir, and then remove from the heat.
2. When you pour the egg-lemon sauce into the soup make sure -as already mentioned in the recipe- that you have removed the pot from the heat. Otherwise the eggs will be cooked, and your sauce may turn to scrambled eggs.
3. You can make this soup ahead. Warm it up before serving, make the egg-lemon sauce with the process described above and add it into the soup. It will be delicious as well.
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