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romanian meatball soup in a traditional bowl

Romanian Meatball Soup - Ciorba de perisoare

Hearty and comforting, traditional Romanian meatball soup or ciorba de perisoare is one of the most popular soups in Romania.
Course Soup
Cuisine Romanian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories 422kcal
Author Adina


  • 1 lb smoked spare ribs
  • 10 1/2 cups water
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1 piece of celeriac
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 5 tablespoons long-grain rice divided
  • 2 egg yolks divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 heaped tablespoons sour cream
  • about 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled tarragon See note
  • fine sea salt and pepper


  • Cook ribs: Place the smoked spare ribs in a large soup pot and cover them with the water. Bring to a boil and cook slowly for about 30 minutes. Remove the foam with a slotted spoon.
  • Vegetables: In the meantime, clean and chop the vegetables into small cubes. Add them to the soup. If using dried tarragon, add it to the soup now.
  • Meatballs: Immediately start making the meatballs by mixing the ground pork with 1 of the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of the rice. Add salt and pepper generously.
  • Cook: Form walnut-sized meatballs (I had about 35). Place the flour on a plate and turn the meatballs into it, shaking slightly to remove the excess. Add them to the soup together with the remaining two tablespoons of rice and cook on low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the rice and the vegetables are soft.
  • Mix the sour cream and the remaining egg yolk in a small bowl. Slowly add some of the hot soup to the mixture, about two soup ladles, while stirring all the time. Pour this mixture slowly into the soup while stirring. Do not let it cook anymore.
  • Adjust taste: Drain the pickled tarragon leaves, saving the vinegar. Chop the leaves very finely and add them to the soup. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and some of the saved vinegar.
    Alternatively, add fresh tarragon to the soup and some white wine vinegar to taste.
  • Serve: Divide the spare ribs and serve the soup with white bread and hot pickled peppers.


The pickled tarragon can be replaced with the leaves of 1 small bunch of fresh tarragon + 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (to taste) or with 1 teaspoon dried tarragon + 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (to taste).


Serving: 1/8 of the soup | Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 403mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g