This Romanian Meatball Soup (Ciorba de Perisoare) is my mom’s recipe for the most delicious meatball soup out there. Just saying.
I always love sharing my Romanian recipes with you all because making them really takes me back to my childhood. This one is nostalgia more than any I’ve shared before because this delicious Meatball soup is one my mom would make most often. It’s a favorite whenever I make it here at home because it’s super flavorful, chock full of tart lemon, herby meatballs, and rich tomato broth.
What Is Ciorba?
In Romanian we call these types of soups “ciorba”. “Ciorba” in Romanian usually refers to sour soups with vegetables and some form of meat. They are made sour by adding either lemon juice, “bors” which is fermented wheat bran, sauerkraut juice, or sometimes even vinegar. “Ciorba de perisoare” basically means meatball soup.
When it comes to this soup I just use lemon juice and this gives the soup a very nice sour taste. The meatballs are quite simple and although I used pork in these recipe, any type of ground meat will work. I’ve made them with ground beef, ground beef, or even ground chicken or turkey, you could even mix the meats.
What Is Vegeta?
In this soup you’ll see that I use vegeta. This is an all purpose seasoning popular in Mediterranean dishes. You can pick up some here and use it to add depth to your dishes, such as soups like this one. If you can’t find any, chicken bouillon cubes will work just fine in its place!
What Is Lovage?
I’ve included yet another ingredient my readers may be unfamiliar with! Lovage is a Mediterranean herb that has a flavor described as a cross between parsley, celery, and curry. This soup is all about this lovage herb, it really does make it! It’s an under utilized herb so pick some up today and have some fun!
Detailed instructions and measurements can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Meat – Ground pork or beef either combined or used on their own work wonders.
- Egg – The binder for our meatballs.
- Herbs – Chopped fresh parsley and dill.
- Rice – Long grain and uncooked. This will add some great chew to our meatballs.
- Seasoning – Salt and pepper.
- Olive oil – We want a nice neutral tasting oil for this soup.
- Veggies – Carrots, onion, and celery as our mirepoix, aka dish base.
- Tomato paste – This will make up our part of our flavor base for this hearty soup. Be sure to use paste as we want that tomato flavor concentrate.
- Liquids – Lemon juice, chicken broth, and water will make up the liquids in this Meatball Soup.
- Vegeta – An all purpose seasoning used in some Romanian dishes. Chicken bouillon cubes can be used in its place.
- Lovage – If you can’t find this herb at your local grocer, chopped parsley and celery leaves can be used in its place.
- Egg – 1 beaten egg will add a richness to this complex broth, just trust me on this one.
How To Make Romanian Meatball Soup
- Form the meatballs: In a bowl add all the meatball ingredients together and mix well. Shape into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter, you should get about 30 to 35 meatballs depending on how big you make them. Place meatballs in fridge until ready to add to soup.
- Create the soup base: Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom 5 qt pot to medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften and are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Form the soup broth: Stir in the tomato paste, then add the chicken broth and water then bring to a boil and add the meatballs one at a time. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through, they will rise to the top when they are done. Season with vegeta then add the lemon juice and lovage.
- Finish the soup: Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as necessary. Very slowly pour in the egg in a steady stream. To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. Cook for another minute then garnish with parsley.
How To Serve It
- A nice dollop of sour cream can be portioned onto each serving of the soup to add a creamy tang to the broth.
- If you like a spicy kick feel free to dice up some hot peppers to top each bowl of soup with.
- This soup goes so well with some nice bread, feel fee to soak it up with some Dinner Rolls or some crusty Bread.
- Feel free to add diced potatoes for a heartier soup.
- Ground veal is a great addition to our meatball, feel free to substitute it in place of or combine it with the ground beef and pork.
- If you’d like to add sour cream right to the soup, mix it with the beaten egg added at the end and add right before serving. Stir the mixture rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute before garnishing.
In an airtight container this Romanian meatball soup will keep for 3 – 4 days in the fridge, just be sure it is cooled before storing. You can also freeze this dish, just store it cooled in a shallow airtight container and it will keep for 4 – 6 months. Just allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating on the stove when ready to eat.
Craving More Authentic Romanian Dishes? Try These Recipes:
- Stuffed Peppers
- Romanian Meatballs
- Cabbage Rolls
- Traditional Romanian Polenta with Feta Cheese, Bacon and Sausage
- Walnut Roll
- Plum Dumplings
- Tripe Soup
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
Romanian Meatball Soup (Ciorba de Perisoare)
- 1 lb ground pork or ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp dill chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup rice long grain and uncooked
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp vegeta or 1 chicken bouillon
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 2 tbsp lovage chopped
- 1 egg beaten
- parsley for garnish
- In a bowl add all the meatball ingredients together and mix well. Shape into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. You should get about 30 to 35 meatballs, depending on how big you make them. Place meatballs in fridge until ready to add to soup.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom 5 qt pot to medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften and are translucent.
- Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil then add the meatballs one at a time.
- Cook for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through, they will rise to the top when they are done. Season with vegeta then add the lemon juice and lovage. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as necessary. Very slowly pour in the egg in a steady stream. To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. Cook for another minute then garnish with parsley.
- Serve hot with a bit of sour cream.