Romanian cuisine is known for its emphasis on soups, my favorite being a meatball soup called "ciorba de perisoare" (pronounced chore-ba de perry-shwar-eh). We had it all the time when I was a child, back in Romania.
Romanians divide soups into two main categories: "supa" and "ciorba", the latter referring to recipes that have a distinct sour flavor to them.
This recipe is a "ciorba", pretty easy to make, and it takes about 40 minutes from start to finish.
1 lb of ground beef (ground chicken or pork are an alternative)
5 celery sticks
1 green bell pepper (or red)
1 1/2 small onions (or a big onion)
1 cup of white flour
3 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp oil
a bunch of fresh parsley
12 cups of water
Step 1: Step 1
To begin, prepare your vegetables by washing them.
For this step you will use your celery, tomatoes, bell pepper and 1 onion.
Add 12 cups of water in a pot, and put it to boil.
In the meantime, cut your vegetables as small as you can. For the carrots I used a grater.
When the water is boiling, add your cut vegetables and 1 tsp of salt, and cover it.
Let everything boil for about 10-12 minutes.
Step 2: The Meatballs (or in Romanian, Perisoare)
While the vegetables are boiling, you will be preparing the meatballs.
For this step you need the meat, 1 egg, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp of flour.
Mix the meat with the egg, salt and flour, and make the meatballs the size of a walnut.
Add the meatballs to your soup, and let everything boil for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked.
Step 3: Making the Noodles for the Soup
You can always buy ready-made noodles, but I like to make my own, they taste so much better and are easy to make.
The noodles are made while the meatballs are boiling. You will have a total of 10-12 minutes for this step.
You will need one egg and the remaining cup of flour.
Put the egg in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, and start mixing with your hand while adding flour continuously. The end result should be a pretty hard dough.
When the dough is ready, you put some flour on a cutting board and roll the dough very thin(1/8").
Cut the dough into strips about 2inches wide, add flour on top of them and stack them. The strips will not be perfect, but that's ok, they don't have to be.
Use a thin blade knife and start cutting really thin strips, as thin as you can or like.
When finished, add the noodles to the soup.
Step 4: Final Ingredients
While everything is still boiling on medium-high heat, you cut your potatoes into small cubes and add it to the soup. Potatoes boil fast and you don't want them to mash, that's why we add them at the end.
Taste for salt, and squeeze the juice of a half a lemon.(The Romanians use a special ingredient called "bors" that makes the soup taste a bit sour, but since that is not available here in the US, a lemon does the job just right).
After that, in a small sauce pan add 1 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil, and the remaining half onion cut into small cubes. Let it brown a bit and add 3 tbsp of tomato sauce. Let it cook for 1 minute and add half of the fresh parsley chopped.
Pour everything into the soup. Add the remaining fresh parsely, taste, and you're done!
That was easy! Serve and Enjoy!
FYI(This step can be skipped if you don't eat fried at all, but it gives a distinct taste and look to the soup, and we Romanians love it :). You can just add the parsely and taste for salt again and you're done!)