On Easter in Greece, whole lambs roast beside succulent skewers of their offal.
Every Easter in Greece, thousands of families gather to roast whole lambs on a spit. Rather than treat the animals’ entrails as scraps, butchers fashion them into moist, crispy skewers of kokoretsi.
Kokoretsi is an ancient tradition that’s now considered an Easter fixture, though it’s made on other special occasions, as well. To begin, the cook dices up the lamb’s liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, spleen, and sweetbreads. Then they thread the pieces onto a skewer and wrap them in layers of caul fat, the thin membrane that surrounds the animal’s insides. This oily substance, which is also used to make sausage casing and pâté, keeps the organs from drying out. After the finishing touch of wrapping the skewers in several layers of lamb intestines, the chef spit-roasts everything over a charcoal fire. It’s not unusual to see kokoretsi cooking alongside the spring lamb from which it emerged.