In the heart of winter, when frost painted delicate patterns on our windowpanes and the world outside was blanketed in a pristine layer of snow, our family’s humble kitchen became a sanctuary of warmth and comfort. The aroma of simmering soup filled the air, and the promise of a hearty meal drew us close, creating memories that would linger long after the last spoonful was savoured.

The guardian of our winter feasts was my beloved grandmother, whose culinary wisdom had been handed down through generations. With each snowy day, she donned her apron and embarked on a ritual that transformed the chill of winter into a season of culinary delight. Her masterpiece was none other than Traditional Romanian Meatball Soup.

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As the snowflakes gently descended outside, she lovingly crafted the meatballs, using a blend of ground pork and beef, finely grated onion, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to season. No breadcrumbs, no eggs—just pure, unadulterated flavour. She shaped the meat mixture into small, tender orbs that would grace our soup with heartiness and warmth.

The soup itself was a symphony of simple yet profound ingredients. In a large pot, she simmered chicken or beef broth, infusing it with the essence of finely chopped carrots, celery, and onion. A solitary bay leaf danced in the simmering liquid, adding a fragrant note to the melody. Seasoned with care, this broth bore the promise of comfort.

And then, the moment we all waited for—the meatballs gently joined the simmering broth. As they floated and bobbed, they released their rich aroma into the pot, mingling with the earthy scent of vegetables and the savoury notes of the bay leaf.

Finally, when the soup was ladled into bowls, its steam rising like a comforting embrace, my grandmother served it with a choice of either Greek Yogurt or sour cream. The marriage of these creamy, tangy companions with the hearty soup was a revelation. A spoonful of Greek Yogurt or a dollop of sour cream transformed each bite into a harmonious blend of sour and rich, a perfect balance that mirrored the winters she had known for decades.

And so, as we huddled around the table, her nourishing creation not only warmed our bodies but also our hearts. Each spoonful was a testament to her love and the traditions she carried, a taste of winter’s embrace that we continue to cherish, bringing a sense of coziness and togetherness to our own families. In the midst of winter’s chill, my grandmother’s Meatball Soup served with Greek Yogurt or sour cream became a tradition that transcended generations, making the season one to celebrate and remember.

Traditional Romanian Meatball Soup (Ciorba de Perisoare)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
  

Ingredients:

    For the Meatballs:

    • 250 g ground pork
    • 250 g ground beef
    • 1 small onion finely grated
    • 1 clove of garlic minced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Fresh parsley finely chopped, for flavor

    For the Soup:

    • 1.5 liters chicken or beef broth
    • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
    • 2 celery stalks chopped
    • 1 medium onion finely chopped
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    For Serving:

    • Sour cream or Greek Yoghurt

    Instructions
     

    Instructions:

      Prepare the Meatballs:

      • a. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, ground beef, finely grated onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.
      • b. Mix the ingredients until well combined.
      • Shape the Meatballs:
      • a. With clean hands, form the meat mixture into small meatballs, about 2.5 cm in diameter. You can make them larger or smaller according to your preference.

      Prepare the Soup:

      • a. In a large soup pot, bring the chicken or beef broth to a simmer over medium heat.
      • b. Add the sliced carrots, chopped celery, and finely chopped onion to the simmering broth.
      • c. Drop in the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables cook until they become tender, typically about 15-20 minutes.

      Cook the Meatballs:

      • a. Gently add the meatballs to the simmering broth. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot.
      • b. Allow the meatballs to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are fully cooked and no longer pink in the center. Add the vinegar/lemon juice or instant borş if you have it to give the soup that authentic sour taste. As kids we used to have with fresh borş.

      Serve the Romanian Meatball Soup:

      • a. Remove the bay leaf from the soup.
      • b. Ladle the hot soup into bowls, placing several meatballs and a generous portion of the cooked vegetables into each.
      • c. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
      • d. Garnish with additional fresh parsley if desired.

      Notes

      Enjoy this Traditional Romanian Meatball Soup, a hearty and comforting dish. The addition of sour cream adds a creamy and tangy richness to the soup, making it a favorite among many.