Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own

Ciorba de Perisoare – Romanian Meatball Sour Soup

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After quite a few Asian recipes, let’s go now to Eastern Europe with this delicious meatball sour soup from Romania.

I haven’t been to Romania yet, but it is definitely on my “to visit” list and it is among one of the most “soupy” countries in the world. Soup is an everyday Romanian dish and there are two kinds: Ciorba that is soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice or vinegar and Supa with no souring agent. In both cases there are several recipes to explore, but let’s begin with this very traditional one, shall we?

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes (overlapped with preparation time) + 20 minutes simmering


For the soup

  • a dash of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, diced (the traditional root vegetables used in this soup are parsley root and celery root, which I don’t get around here, so I replace with parsnip)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 liter beef stock
  • Lemon juice to taste (I like my soup quite sour, I use the juice of 1 lemon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
  • Fresh parsley and celery leaves to taste, chopped (traditionally, lovage leaves are used for this recipe, but again, they are not easy to find where I live so I used parsley and celery leaves instead)
  • Sour cream to serve (optional)

For the meatballs:

  • 1/4 kg minced beef
  • 1/2 onion, finally chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley, finally chopped

Note: I used 16 meatballs around 2.5 cm diameter, but the above measures actually yielded the double, I kept the rest for another meal.


Heat the oil in a cooking pot, add all the vegetables and sauté over medium-low heat until they have softened. Put in the tomato paste and stir to combine.

Pour the stock and bring to a boil. Get into a simmer to start cooking the vegetables while preparing the meatballs.

Meanwhile, combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, mix them well and make small meatballs. For a quicker version you can prepare them in advance and even keep them frozen.

Drop in the meatballs and simmer around 20 minutes, make sure the rice is cooked. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. At this stage, if desired, slowly incorporate the beaten egg stirring continuously. I have my ration of protein with the meatballs, so I left the egg out.

Include the leaves and serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired. Enjoy!


And if you liked this dish, don’t miss this other sour soup from Russia: Shchi

One thought on “Ciorba de Perisoare – Romanian Meatball Sour Soup

  1. Pingback: Ten months, ten posts: Reader’s Top Ten Recipes | Around the Bowl

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