This tasteful Romanian meatball soup with tomatoes and lots of vegetables (ciorba de perisoare) is full of color and vitamins.
Healthy, easy on your diet and comforting all year long. It’s another staple recipe in Romanian cuisine.
We eat lots of soups, all the time not only in colder months.
I grew up eating soups almost daily. My grandmother could not resist more than two days without eating a soup.
She said she would not feel that a meal completely satisfies her unless it contains a soup.
Romanian soups are mostly made sour using vinegar, lemon juice or a souring fermented agent named bors (bran).
“The ingredient borș consists of water in which wheat or barley bran, sometimes sugar beet or a slice of bread have fermented. After decanting, the result is a slightly yellowish, sour liquid which can also be drunk as such. It contains lactic acid plus vitamins and minerals extracted from the bran. Whole lovage leaves can be added in the final liquid.” – wikipedia
This bran is very healthy and many Romanians make it at home or buy it from the grocery stores on a daily basis.
It’s largely used to sour our soups, but also in other Eastern Europe cuisines. In the States you can try and search for it in Hungarian or Polish stores.
But you can definitely use vinegar or lemon juice, or sour cream if you don’t have / don’t like bran.
That being said, let’s see what I used for this delicious meatball soup recipe.
For this meatball soup we need the following ingredients:
- Ground pork – you can use chicken or beef meat
- Rice – round, risotto rice
- Onions, Egg
- Carrots, Parsnip, Celery root
- Parsley – fresh & root
- Tomatoes – fresh or canned
- Salt and pepper
- Pepper – red or green
- Cooking oil
- Lovage (optional but highly recommended)
- Bors, vinegar (lemon juice) – souring agent
- Sour cream, jalapeno pepper (to serve)
🍲 How To Make Romanian Meatball Soup
First, put a large pot with cold water on low heat to have for later.
1. Prepare the meat mixture
Rinse and dry the rice. Put together into a bawl the ground meat, the rice, one chopped onion, one egg, chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well everything with you hands, cover with cling film and put in the fridge until later.
Peel and rinse the vegetables. Finely chop the remaining onions. Grate the carrots, parsnip, parsley root, celery root. Dice the pepper. Set aside.
2. Prepare vegetables
Put a large pot on medium heat. Pour and heat 6-7 tbsp of sunflower oil. When heated, saute the chopped onions until soft and golden, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the grated vegetables and saute together until really soften, another 10 minutes. Stir from time to time, do not let them attach to the pan.
When soften, add the heated water (from earlier) to cover them well and not stop the cooking process.
Stir, add some salt (1/2 tsp), cover partially and let it simmer on low heat. Meantime, let’s make those meatballs.
3. Form the meatballs
Take the meat mixture out of the fridge and start making meatballs. Form small balls with your wet hands.
Place them on a flat surface (a platter or your cutting board) until you finish all the mixture.
When you finish forming the meatballs, verify that the soup is boiling. Take off the lid and carefully add the meatballs to the pot.
Stir and let them cook for about 20-30 minutes. Skim the foam that is forming at the surface.
4. Add tomatoes
If you use fresh tomatoes, peel and dice in small cubes. Being out of season, I used one diced tomatoes can.
Pour the whole can into the soup and stir well. Let all cook together for another 10 minutes. Taste for saltiness and adjust.
*Tip & variation: Sometimes I add at this point 2-3 cubed potatoes, or a handful of (homemade) noodles.
Try it, it brings more richness to the soup.
Finally, try one meatball to see if the meat and rice are cooked.
If everything is OK, turn off the heat and add the souring agent: 3 cups (or more) boiled bors (bran) or 3-4 tbsp of white vinegar / lemon juice. Stir well.
More vinegar can be added upon serving, according to personal taste.
Also throw in a bunch of finely chopped fresh parsley and lovage (a special tasteful herb used to garnish sour soups) if available.
🥄 Serving Romanian Meatball Soup
Serve in individual soup bawls, with additional vinegar / lemon juice aside & some chili / jalapeno peppers (optional). 🌶️
Also, we sometimes add a dollop of sour cream to the soup for intense and full richness and tastefulness.
Now, it’s time to enjoy this Romanian meatball soup! Doesn’t it look inviting?
It’s very tasteful and nutritious from all that vegetables we used. I encourage you to cook it and let me know if you liked it!
Let it cool on room temperature and put the soup pot into the fridge for about 3-4 days.
Only reheat the amount you plan to eat at one serving. This soup will get you covered for a few days, having something to serve quickly.
Other tasty recipes to cook for your family:
- Romanian Cabbage Rolls (sour cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork)
- Romanian Chicken Soup With Garlic & Sour Cream (silky, delicious, comforting soup)
- Romanian Stuffed Peppers (soo good that may get you addicted)
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Romanian Meatball Soup
- 2 lbs (900g) ground pork (or chicken)
- 2/3 cup (130g) risotto rice
- 1 egg
- 3 golden onions
- 2 large carrots
- 1 large parsnip
- 1 small celery root
- 1 medium parsley root
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 bunch fresh lovage (optional)
- 1 red (or green) pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 6-7 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cups (600ml) bors (bran) (optional) OR
- 3-4 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (alternative sour agent)
- Put 1 gallon of cold water in a big pot to low heat, to have it for later. Prepare the meat mixture: mix together the meat, rice (already washed and dried), one finely chopped onion, the egg, half of the parsley bunch finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with cling film and put it in the fridge until you need it.
- Prepare vegetables: peel and wash the vegetables. Chop the onions and put aside. Grate the rest of the vegetables. Dice the red pepper. Get a large soup pan and place it on the stove on medium heat. Pour the cooking oil, let it heat and saute the onion 3-5 minutes until soft and beautifully golden. Add the grated vegetables and saute 10 minutes more, stirring until really soft. Don't let them attach to the bottom of the pan. If necessary add 1-2 more tbsp cooking oil. Add the heated water prepared from above and stir well. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt or to your taste. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile we are going to prepare the meatballs.
- Take out the meat mixture from the fridge and prepare a platter or a clean cutting board aside. Water your hands and start forming small meatballs. Place them on the prepared platter as you make them. Finish all the mixture. When finished, verify the soup. It should be boiling. Add the meatballs to the soup very gently, stirring so all of them are covered with soup. If necessary, add more heated water. Skim the forming foam from the surface 2-3 times. Cover partially and let them cook for about 30 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes, stir and let it cook another 15 minutes. Verify if the meatballs are well cooked and if so, turn off the heat. Add the boiled bran (bors) OR 3-4 tbsp of vinegar. Chop the remaining fresh parsley and add it to the soup. Chop the fresh lovage also and add it. Serve in individual soup bawls with more vinegar/lemon juice aside, chili peppers and sour cream and your preferred bread for full deliciousness.