My husband Josh spent two years living in Romania when he served in the Peace Corps. While there he ate many sour soups, called Ciorba, which uses this herb to add an unmistakable flavor: tangy, a bit sour and very flavorful. Ciorba de perisoare (meatballs), Ciorba de burta (tripe), Ciorba de cartofi (potato).... the list goes on.
Josh and I went to Romania and Hungary 10 years ago for our honeymoon. We had a wonderful trip and experience visiting and staying with some of the friends Josh made while in the Peace Corps. True hospitality met us during every interaction and with all the friends with whom we spent time. We traveled all around the country: Bucharest, Pitesti, Sighisoara, the Danube delta, Constanta (on the Black Sea coast), the mountains... As you can guess, I was struck by the culture and folk arts while in Romania. I especially admired the ornamental wood carved gates found in a certain region of Romania and the woven wool rugs were particularly striking, I loved looking at the rural dwellings especially. My friend Razvan remembers me taking a special interest in the folk arts on that trip. Perhaps some seeds were sown and embers were left smoldering...a foreshadowing of my interest in Eastern European traditions. I took the following photos during our trip in 2003. After this little photo tour you'll find a tasty recipe for Ciorba de perisoare if you would like to try and make it in your kitchen.
|Bucharest, Romania: View from our friend's flat|
|Rural Mountain scene in Romania|
|Village house, Romania|
|Flowers blooming, Romania|
If you have some Lovage growing in your garden, can find some in a friend's garden or at a Farmer's Market perhaps you'd like to try this recipe. The soup was delicious. Even Kazmir, my 11 month old, got excited about eating it! Here is the link where I found the recipe:
Romanian Sour Meatball Soup
Ciorba de perisoare
Sour Meatball Soup Recipe (ciorba de perisoare)
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes (preparation: 50 minutes; cooking: 30-40 minutes)
Makes: 8 servings
- 1 pound grounded meat (mixed beef and pork)
- 1 pound beef (or veal) with bones
- 2 small onions
- 2 slices of bread
- 2 tablespoons rice
- ground black pepper
- 1 parsley root
- 3-4 carrots
- 1 parsnip root
- 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bunch of lovage leaves (or parsley leaves)
- 2-3 tablespoons vinegar
- Bring to boil 6 cups of water in a pot.
- Finely slice: 1 onion, the parsley, the parsnip and the carrots and put them in the water. Add the beef (or veal) meat.
- In the mean time soak the bread in water then squeeze it. Mash the bread with a fork.
- Mix the ground meat with the other finely chopped onion, the mashed bread and the rice, and season with salt and ground black pepper. For a more tender meat composition add 2-3 tablespoons of water.
- Make small meat balls rolling them with wet hands.
- When the vegetables become tender put the meat balls in the boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- When the soup is almost done the meatballs are coming to the surface as the soup simmers.
- Add the tomato paste and stir.
- Finely chop the lovage and add it to the soup, and then season with salt and vinegar. If you do not have lovage, you can use fresh parsley leaves instead.
- The soup is delicious served with a bit of sour cream, and a hot pepper on the side.