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Romanian Meatball Sour Soup (Ciorba de Perisoare)

Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars

"Honestly to-die-for soup. Romanians from Transylvania have a saying: 'asa'i de buna, ca-ti vine sa-ti bati copiii cu lantul ud, sa-i sui in pod si sa le furi scara' (so good, you feel like you want to tie up your kids, stick them in the attic, and steal the ladder). Not that the Transylvanians will do anything like that... Serve in bowls topped with extra sour cream."
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2 h servings 242
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Heat oil in a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add carrots, red bell pepper, 1 red onion, and parsley root; cook and stir until slightly softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour in water. Add tomatoes and celery. Simmer until flavors combine, about 30 minutes.
  2. Mix ground beef, 1/2 onion, egg whites, rice, flour, 1 pinch dill, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Wet your palms with water and roll spoonfuls of the beef mixture into meatballs.
  3. Drop meatballs carefully into the pot. Cook until no longer pink in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in lovage, garlic herb seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon dill, and parsley. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Mix sour cream and egg yolks together in a small bowl. Stir into the soup. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • Substitute parsnip root for the parsley root if desired. Substitute 1 small celery root, sliced, for the celery stalks if desired.
  • Substitute ground turkey or pork for the ground beef if desired. You can make the meatballs small, medium, or big, but no bigger than apricots.
  • I found lovage online. If you can't find lovage, use lemon salt (not the same thing as lemon pepper). I've also used just the juice from 2 lemons when I couldn't find either, and it seemed to work well.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 242 calories; 14.2 15.4 13.4 93 126 Full nutrition

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Loved it!!! Thanks for the recipe.