Sour Pork Soup

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Sour Pork Soup

It was very difficult to come up with a name for this soup because it’s unlike any soup you’ve probably ever tried before. This is a traditional Romanian soup which we call “ciorba” which I’ve talked about before a few times. “Ciorba” is basically a sour soup made with meat and vegetables, which is totally different from what we call soup because soups are usually clear with no added acid. “Ciorba” is usually made sour with the addition of lemon juice or vinegar. If you’ve never had a “ciorba” before, it is unbelievable. It’s a meal on its own. As a matter of fact we usually do eat this as a  meal, because it’s hearty, it’s filling, we eat it with lots of bread and hot peppers, it’s one of those foods that once you start eating you can’t stop. It’s fabulous.

This version here is from the Transylvania region and the actual Romanian name is “Ciorba Ardeleneasca” which is a reference to the area where it’s from. I was born in Transylvania so I love these types of soups. They are made with lots of sour cream, lots of veggies and of course lots of pork. You can use any kind of pork here, you can use loin, shoulder, pork chops without bone, whatever you have. If you don’t like pork you could make this with chicken as well.

Romanians may not have a developed or evolved cuisine of their own, but one thing we are good at is making these soups. If you make this I would love to hear from you and tell me what you think of this.

Sour Pork Soup

4.0 from 1 reviews
Sour Pork Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 - 8
  • 1 lb pork, no bones, could be loin, shoulder, chops, anything
  • ⅔ cup long grain rice
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, shredded
  • 1 celery root, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • juice from 1½ lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups water
  1. Cut the pork into 1 inch cubes. In a soup pot add the 8 cups of water and add the pork and the celery root to the water. Boil on medium heat for 45 minutes. To keep the soup clear, make sure you skim the gray foam that forms at the top of the soup during the first 15 minutes of boiling.
  2. In a large skillet add olive oil, chopped onion, shredded carrot, celery, shredded parsnip and chopped pepper and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, just until the vegetables soften up a bit.
  3. Add the vegetables to the soup , and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes on low heat, so as not to boil the soup again.
  4. Remove the celery root from the soup.
  5. Add uncooked rice to the soup and continue cooking.
  6. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the flour together and add a couple ladles of the hot soup to the bowl to thin out the sour cream mixture. Pour the cream slowly into the soup pot, stirring constantly so as not to curdle.
  7. Add the tarragon and lemon juice and let it cook for another 10 minutes on low heat. You may want to taste for salt and pepper at this time and add more if needed.
  8. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve hot with hot peppers on the side.


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  1. joan says

    I noticed this in other of your recipes but specialy in Sour Pork Soup,
    the list of ingredients is not in the order used in the instructions. I’m new on your site and am watering over many of your yummies. Thanks.

  2. Meladie says

    Hi Jo, So I’ve married a Romanian man (a wonderful one), and I didn’t know what sort of trouble I was going to get myself into, in the kitchen of course. So I have tried your ciorba de vacutza recipe, tweaked it a little bit (because I had forgotten one ingredient), but it came out just like his mama use to make it!!

    I love Romanian foods! I try to mash Cambodian/Romanian dishes together sometimes.

  3. Diane says

    I found this recipe posted on Pinterest and tried it last weekend. I loved it! I was also so excited to try something from Romania. That was a first for me. I work with a man from Romania, so he was all excited that I tried a dish that was native to him. He told me all about how they think parsnips are very blah and don’t change the taste of a soup. Apparently they have a saying about people that are neither good nor bad, and they basically are saying that the person is a parsnip : ) Too funny! Thanks for sharing your heritage! It was a fun and tasty experience!

    • says

      Hi Diane,
      I love to hear these stories so thanks for coming here and sharing with me. It’s interesting but Romanian cuisine is not really known very well in the world, so that’s why I love to post some of my favorite and dearest recipes here that I grew up with. I really hope you try some other Romanian recipes I have here, I’m sure you’ll love them. :)

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