This sour turkey meatball soup is a delicious Romanian recipe to make when you need something comforting. It's full of healthy vegetables and the turkey meatballs make it filling enough for a main meal.
If you're wondering what a sour soup is and are not quite sure what to expect then let me reassure you. This traditional Romanian soup gets it's sourness from the addition of vinegar at the end in the same way you add lemon juice to some dishes.
It's not tongue-curlingly sour, just a little sour and deliciously moreish. It's a real comfort food dish that's perfect on a cold autumn or winter's day. It's also a really healthy meal as it's packed with vegetables and minced turkey is a very healthy meat too.
I love cooking from scratch, discovering new flavours and trying dishes from different cultures and that was one of the reasons I first tried this Romanian sour soup.
The second reason was that it was part of a challenge. I had to make a recipe adapted from one at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
I soon chose to make the ciorba de perisoare which is a Romanian sour turkey meatball soup. I had never made a sour soup before but as soon as I read it, it reminded me of the sour soups I had eaten in Poland years ago.
Now, this sour soup sounded completely different from the Polish soup I remembered but the idea of making a sour soup had got to me. I really wanted to make a sour soup. I knew it might not look pretty but I was confident it was going to taste great.
Why is it a sour soup?
Sour soups are sour because of added acid, usually vinegar. Just think of Asian sweet and sour recipes. This Romanian sour soup is sour because of white wine vinegar.
What ingredients do you need for Ciorba de Perisoare?
To make this sour meatball soup you'll need:
- Spices - paprika and smoked paprika
- Chicken or turkey stock
- Kale - You could replace this with spinach or cabbage. If you use spinach add it nearer the end of the cooking time though.
- Fresh parsley - If you only have dried that is fine.
- White wine vinegar - Malt vinegar, red wine vinegar or cider vinegar are all fine as alternatives. You could even use lemon juice.
And for the meatballs you'll need:
- Minced turkey - I prefer to use minced thigh or leg meat rather than breast
- Basmati rice
- Spices - smoked paprika, paprika and black pepper
How do you make this turkey meatball soup?
This soup is very easy to make. To make the meatballs you just put the minced turkey, diced onion, rice, paprika and black pepper into a bowl. Mix everything together with your hands and form it into meatballs.
To then make the soup, cook the onions, carrot and celery in a little oil in a large saucepan. When they have softened, stir in the paprika. Then add the stock and kale.
Put the meatballs gently into the soup and leave it to simmer for 40 minutes. Stir the vinegar in at the end along with a little parsley.
What does this Romanian sour turkey meatball soup taste like?
We loved the sourness in this soup. A sour meatball soup was definitely something new for us to eat at home and I really enjoyed it. If you're not sure about adding vinegar to a soup then be frugal with it. Adding just 2 tablespoons rather than 4 will still give that sour soup taste and you can always add a little more!
Do you have to cook the rice before adding it to the meatballs?
When I first made this soup I'd never put uncooked rice in a meatball before. I was a little worried that the grains would not cook through or that the meatballs would fall apart but I needn't have worried. Everything was perfectly cooked. There were a few grains of rice in the soup but the meatballs held together perfectly.
Can you adapt this sour soup recipe?
Like all soups you can adapt this to suit your tastes and what ingredients you have. You could use different vegetables. I think squash or green beans would be a delicious addition.
If you don't have turkey mince then chicken or pork would work as an alternative too. Minced turkey is very low in fat and I prefer to use minced turkey thighs as they are slightly higher in fat than breast meat and so the meatballs stay moister and tastier.
If you want to omit the meatballs altogether then you could add a tin of butter beans or cannellini beans instead. I also think tofu would work well.
As I said earlier, you can adapt the level of sourness in this soup. If it's your first time making a sour soup then go easy on the vinegar. It's very easy to add a little more later or if you are serving a few people, you can even add more to your own bowl at the table.
What can you do with the leftovers?
Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Reheat thoroughly in a saucepan or the microwave.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can. Freeze any leftovers in individual airtight containers for up to 4 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat thoroughly.
More soups you might like
Why not check out my collection of homemade soup recipes or try one of these homemade soup recipes?
Sour Turkey Meatball Soup
For the Meatballs
- 400 g minced turkey I used thigh meat
- ½ small onion diced
- 3 tbsp basmati rice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pinch of black pepper
For the Soup
- 1 onion diced
- 2 sticks of celery finely diced
- 3 carrots diced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 ltr chicken or turkey stock
- handful kale
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp vinegar I used white wine vinegar
- Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix together with your hands before forming into meatballs.
- Heat a little oil in a large pan. Cook the onion, celery and carrot gently until softened.
- Stir in the paprika and add the chicken stock.
- Bring to the boil, stir in the kale and then reduce to a simmer.
- Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for 40 minutes.
- Stir in most of the parsley and the vinegar to taste then serve topped with the remaining parsley.
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Do let me know if you make this sour turkey meatball soup. I love to get feedback from readers.
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