Lamb Shank Mageiritsa: Skip the innards and make the soup with lamb bones and shanks, starting by sautéing the bones and shanks and then adding the spring onions and remaining ingredients.
Mushroom Mageiritsa: Soak a variety of dried wild mushrooms — meaty morels are an excellent choice — in warm water. Have about 6 large Portobello mushrooms on hand, rinsed and rubbed dry, then cut into large finger-thick slices or chunks. Sauté the scallions first, then add the mushrooms and remaining ingredients and continue with the recipe. Add the strained mushroom soaking liquid to the soup, together with more water, if necessary.
Adapted from The Country Cooking of Greece, by Diane Kochilas Chronicle Books, Fall 2012.
- Intestines, heart, lungs, liver, and head (optional) of 1 lamb
- 1 ½ quarts water
- ¼ Cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 Pound boneless lamb, shredded or finely chopped (optional)
- 8 scallions, trimmed, whites and tender upper greens finely chopped
- 2 Cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 Cup chopped fresh dill
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Cup short-grain rice, such as Greek nihaki or glazed rice
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- Strained fresh juice of 2 large lemons, or more to taste
Cut the intestines into 1-foot-long pieces. Attach each piece to the water faucet and run warm water through them until they are very clean, squeezing them between thumb and forefinger, if necessary, to force out any impurities. Make sure to do this thoroughly. Set aside in a bowl and squeeze a little lemon juice over the intestines. Next, wash all the remaining viscera very well under cold water. Chop into small pieces.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and drop in the intestines. Blanch for 2 to 3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Let cool, then chop into small pieces, about ½-inch long. Do not discard the cooking liquid.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium flame and sauté liver and other viscera until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon. Sauté the lamb bits in the same skillet until lightly browned and remove. In the same skillet, wiping clean and replenishing with oil if necessary, sauté the scallions until wilted.
Return intestines and sautéed meats to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add the lettuce, scallions, and dill. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. Add the rice and continue simmering until soft.
Prepare the avgolemono: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until frothy. Very slowly add 2 to 3 cups of the hot soup to the egg mixture, until the egg is tempered, beating vigorously with a whisk to keep egg from curdling. Pour the egg mixture into pot and stir well with a wooden spoon. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and serve right away, hot.