Sour soup with meatballs – Ciorba de perisoare
Sour soup with meatballs is a dish that you’ll find in almost any Romanian restaurant – if you don’t find this exact translation, look for ciorba de perisoare. It’s one of the most popular Romanian soups, and its sour taste comes from something we call bors – a liquid ingredient which consists of wheat fermented in water. This might not sound too delicious, but I assure you that it tastes great. I would compare its taste to the liquid in which sauerkraut is kept.
This Romanian sour soup can be prepared during any season, that’s why we make it almost once a month at home. I love to add as many vegetables as I can, so I used carrots, parsley root, celery root, onion and a bit of red pepper. I love to add fresh parsley to almost any soup I make, but this sour soup with meatballs goes perfectly with fresh lovage.
I wanted to use turkey meat for this soup, but if you come to Romania and eat this kind of soup at a restaurant, you might want to ask if the meatballs are made of pork or veal meat – those are usually the most common types of meat used for ciorba de perisoare meatballs. I also like to use chicken to make them, but you can really choose any of these meat types.
The meat is usually mixed with an egg, a finely-chopped onion, and some rice. If you add these ingredients and you see that the composition is too runny, feel free to wet a slice of bread (without the crust), squeeze all the water out, and finely crumble it in the composition. The bread will absorb the moisture, and it will be easier to form the meatballs.
3 l (3 quarts) water
2 tablespoons oil
½ celery root
1 parsley root
1 red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
500 g (1.1 lbs) minced turkey meat
40 g (2 tablespoons) rice
½ onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop all the vegetables into small pieces. In a soup pot, heat the oil and cook the onion for 1 minute, then add all the vegetables, except the red pepper.
- Cook the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, then add the water.
- Bring to boil and let the vegetables simmer for 10-15 minutes, then add the red pepper and the tomato paste.
- During this time, form the meatballs – mix the minced meat with the egg, the finely chopped onion and the rice. Add salt and pepper, wet your hands and form balls as big as a walnut (or a bit bigger if you like).
- Add the meatballs into the soup and leave it to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the bors (substitute with the juice from one lemon) and leave it to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the freshly chopped lovage.