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.
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):
The soup is not very complicated to put together. It all starts with cleaning and chopping the vegetables—onions, carrots, celery.
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.
Add water and also the tomato paste.
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.
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.
With wet hands, grab a dollop of the ground meat mixture and roll it between your palms to create a meatball.
Keeping your hands wet, drop the meatballs into your soup.
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.
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.
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.
- Clean and chop all vegetables.
- 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.
- Saute the vegetables until they develop the flavor, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add water or chicken broth.
- Simmer the soup until the vegetables are half cooked.
- Add tomato paste or tomato sauce and the cubed potatoes.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, place the ground meat, rice, egg, chopped onion, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Mix everything to incorporate all the ingredients and make a paste. Set aside.
- With wet hands, grab a dollop of the meat mixture and roll it between your palms to create a meatball.
- Keeping your hands wet, drop the meatballs into the soup.
- Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes, so the meatballs get cooked.
- Taste for salt.
- Chop some parsley and sprinkle over the soup.
- To make the soup sour:
- Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. Taste and add some more as you prefer.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and hot peppers.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 351mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 23g