Ciorbă De Perisoare (Pork-and-Rice Meatball Soup)

  • Serves

    serves 4


Ciorbă_ (from the Turkish çorba) is the Romanian name for a soup that has been soured—in this case, with a generous shot of fresh lemon juice. Pork-and-rice meatballs bring savory flavor and substance to the paprika-spiced broth. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue with Alexander Lobrano's article Eternal Terrain.


  • 8 oz. ground pork
  • 12 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 12 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (15-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley


Step 1

Mix pork, rice, egg, half the onion, and salt and pepper in a bowl until evenly combined. Form into eight 1 1⁄2″ meatballs, and chill.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper; season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and paprika, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add meatballs, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup and meatballs into serving bowls, and garnish with parsley to serve.

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