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Romanian Meatballs Sour Soup (Ciorba De Perisoare)

Romanian Meatballs Sour Soup or Ciorba de Perisoare is one of the most traditional soups of Romanian cuisine, the glory of the soups, and the pride of every Romanian cook.

“Perisoare” means meatballs usually made with minced pork, beef, or a combination of both mixed with rice, egg, and spices, then boiled in the soup or ciorba.

ROMANIAN MEATBALLS SOUR SOUP CIORBA DE PERISOARE- Pinterest picture

We eat many soups in this family because we live in a cold climate where hearty soups are the perfect meal.

I also think that soup, in general, is one of the best ways to consume vegetables and meat healthily.

Romanian cuisine has lots of soups and ciorbe, “ciorba” being the sour version of the soup.

We make them sour by using vinegar, lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, etc. We also use a lot of sour creams to complement the “ciorba.”

One of the most traditional herbs to use in the Romanian sour soups is the lovage that is really difficult to find in the United States.

I usually bring dried lovage from Romania when I visit or order online on Amazon when available.

We make this Romanian Meatballs Sour Soup (Ciorba de Perisoare) all year round. However,  around Christmas and New Years’, we always have a pot of this soup available. 

HOW TO MAKE ROMANIAN MEATBALLS SOUR SOUP (CIORBA DE PERISOARE):

Step 1

The soup is not very complicated to put together. It all starts with cleaning and chopping the vegetables—onions, carrots, celery.

chopped vegetables for the soup

Step 2

In a soup pot, add the oil and saute the vegetable for few minutes to develop their flavors. Do not add the potatoes yet.

They cook faster than the rest of the vegetables; therefore, we will add them to the soup a little later.

Romanian Meatballs Sour Soup Ciorba De Perisoare- chopped vegetables cooking in the pot

Step 3

Add water and also the tomato paste.

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare - soup simmering on the stove- part of the steps

STEP 4.

Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to a medium-low. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are half cooked. Now you can add the potatoes cut into cubes.

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare- chopped potatoes added to the soup

Step 5

Meanwhile, we can start the meatballs.

In a bowl, mix the ground meat(beef, pork, or both), rice, egg, parsley, and salt and pepper. Combine everything to obtain a paste. 

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare - ingredients for the meatballs- rice, onion, ground beef, parsley, spices

Step 6

With wet hands,  grab a dollop of the ground meat mixture and roll it between your palms to create a meatball.

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare -meatballs formed sitting on wooden board

Step 7

Keeping your hands wet, drop the meatballs into your soup.

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare - placing the meatballs inside the soup

Step 8

Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes, so the rice and the meat get cooked. Taste for salt. Chop some parsley and add it to your soup.

Serve hot with good slices of bread.

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare - featured picture

To make the soup sour:

Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. Taste and add some more as you like. Serve it with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. It also goes well with hot peppers, like the ones in this recipe.

Enjoy!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Romanian Meatballs Sour Soup (Ciorba De Perisoare)

ROMANIAN MEATBALLS SOUR SOUP CIORBA DE PERISOARE1

Romanian meatballs sour soup or Ciorba de Perisoare is one of the most traditional soups of Romanian cuisine and the pride of every Romanian cook. "Perisoare" means meatballs usually made with minced pork, beef, or a combination of both mixed with rice, egg, and spices, then boiled in the soup or ciorba.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Inactive Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground meat (pork, beef or a mixture of both)
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/2 chopped small onion
  • 1/4 bunch of parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg

For the soup:

  • 2-3 carrots chopped in cubes
  • 2-3 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 diced onion(or 2-3 diced green onions)
  • 1-2 peppers(any color you like) chopped
  • 3-4 chopped in cubes medium potatoes
  • tomato paste or tomato sauce
  • 8 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch parsley chopped (or lovage-as it is traditional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: hot peppers, sour cream or yogurt for serving.

Instructions

  1. Clean and chop all vegetables.
  2. In a soup pot, pour oil and add the chopped vegetables minus the potatoes. The potatoes cook faster than the other vegetables to go in the pot a little later.
  3. Saute the vegetables until they develop the flavor, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add water or chicken broth.
  5. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are half cooked.
  6. Add tomato paste or tomato sauce and the cubed potatoes.
  7. Meanwhile, in a bowl, place the ground meat, rice, egg, chopped onion, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.
  8. Mix everything to incorporate all the ingredients and make a paste. Set aside.
  9. With wet hands, grab a dollop of the meat mixture and roll it between your palms to create a meatball.
  10. Keeping your hands wet, drop the meatballs into the soup.
  11. Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes, so the meatballs get cooked.
  12. Taste for salt.
  13. Chop some parsley and sprinkle over the soup.
  14. To make the soup sour:
  15. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. Taste and add some more as you prefer.
  16. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and hot peppers.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 351mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 23g

Did you make this recipe?

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Joseph

Thursday 15th of April 2021

Is the rice raw or cooked ??

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 15th of April 2021

it is raw rice.

Cristina

Thursday 7th of January 2021

WOW - I thought I knew how to make soup and hardly ever followed a recipe. This one is beyond excellent, all the flavors blended nicely reminding me of Romania. Even without the lovage which doesn´t exist here where I live, it came out perfect, splendid taste. Thank you Gabriela!

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 7th of January 2021

Thank you, my friend! I am happy you liked the soup, this recipe is a good one indeed!

Claudia

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

I never heard or seen anyone put celery and potatoes in the perisoare soup. Onion, carrots, red and green pepper yes.

The Bossy Kitchen

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

Hi Claudia, I would suggest you do some more research on this matter. This type of soup is made with vegetables you have available each season, and that could be carrots, parsley root, parsnip, potatoes, celery root(celeriac), red/green peppers, sometimes zucchini etc. Each Romanian makes it different and it is not a right or wrong way to cook it. I also adapted this recipe to fit the ingredients I have available in the US. For example celeriac is not wildly available, so I replaced it with green celery, to be closer to the taste I know from my childhood.My family always put potatoes in this soup and also all kinds of root vegetables, especially in the winter. You can skip the potatoes if you do not like them. The rest of the vegetables bring flavor to the soup and also nutrients, so why not add them?

Mihaela

Sunday 20th of October 2019

That'S true. I live in Toronto and consider myself lucky to have a Romanian store close to my home where I can find lots of Romanian products, among them of course borsh and sauerkraut juice. And for this kind of soups (chorba ) the lovage is a must which I have plenty in my backyard. I am glad I found your website with lots of Romanian recipes I know from my childhood and which I missed a lot since I left Romania 40yrs. ago. I can't wait to make the no bake orange mousse cake. It looks exactly like my mother used to make. Thank you for making known the wonderful Romanian cuisine.

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 21st of October 2019

You are very lucky. Here in Minnesota we do not have any Romanian store. I bring a lot of dried ingredients from Romania when I visit. I stock up on dried lovage and other spices for my specific recipes. Thank you for visiting and I hope you make that cake. It is absolutely delicious and so popular back there!

Mihaela

Sunday 20th of October 2019

How are you making it sour? Aren't you using sauerkraut juice or "bors"?

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 20th of October 2019

Hi Mihaela, it says in the article : "We make[the soups] them sour by using vinegar, lemon juice, sauerkraut juice etc. We also use a lot of sour cream to complement the "ciorba"." You are right, if you live in Romania, you can use sauerkraut juice or "bors", but most people in United States do not have access to these ingredients, so another option is to use lemon juice or a little bit of vinegar. Bors is definitely not available here or heard of.

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