Ciorba de Perisoare (Romanian Meatball Soup)
“Ciorba” in Romanian usually refers to sour soups with vegetables and some form of meat. They are made sour by adding either lemon juice, “bors”, which is fermented wheat bran, sauerkraut juice, or sometimes even vinegar.
“Ciorba de perisoare” basically means meatball soup. This popular soup can be found all over Romania.
Here’s my favorite version. It is usually served hot with freshly chopped lovage on top and some crusty bread. Also, if you like, you can add a spoonful of sour cream in the Transylvanian style and a hot pepper.
Romanian Meatball Soup / Ciorba de Perisoare
For the meatballs:
- 500 gr minced pork or minced beef or a mixture of both
- 2 tbsp rice
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 egg white
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp oil
For the soup:
- 4 l veal/chicken Stock or hot water
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 carrots
- 1 pepper
- 1 parsnip
- 1 parsley root
- 1 small celery
- 1 large tomato chopped
- lemon juice to taste
- 200 grams sour cream with at least 20% fat
- greens tarragon, parsley, dill, leek (all or your favourite of these)
For the Meatballs:
- Boil 500 ml (2 cups) of water in a saucepan. When the water boils, add the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse under cold running water.
- Put all the meatball ingredients in a bowl (onion, the egg white, the precooked rice, salt and pepper) and mix well.
- From this mixture form the meatballs, preferably as small as possible to be taken in a spoon.
- With your hands moistened with cold water, shape the mix into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter: you should get about 30 to 35 meatballs depending on how big you make them.
- Place the meatballs in the fridge until ready to add to the soup.
Create the Soup Base:
- Clean the carrots, peppers, parsnips, celery, parsley, wash them well and cut into suitable cubes. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed 5 qt pot to medium heat.
- Add the onions, carrots, and all the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften and are translucent. Add water or chicken broth.
- Simmer the soup until the vegetables are half cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Form the Soup Broth:
- Stir in the tomato paste or add the peeled and diced tomatoes to the soup. Add the meatballs one at a time.
- Cook for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through, they will rise to the top when they are done.
- Add the lemon juice. Simmer for 2-3minutes, then turn off the heat and add chopped greens (dill, parsley, leek), keeping 1-2 tablespoons for sprinkling when serving
Finish the Soup:
- Mix the egg yolk, sour cream and herbs with a ladleful of soup. Add to the finished product.
Related: Romanian Chicken Soup
Related: Greek Meatballs (Soutzoukakia)
Related: Greek Meatball Soup
Related: Traditional Swedish Meatballs
Related: Famous Romanian Foods
Related: Borș Moldovenesc (Sour Moldavian Soup)
Related: Baked Chicken Meatballs with Veggies & Yogurt Sauce