This Romanian sweet and sour soup will have you smacking your lips!

Romania seems off the beaten path for some, but it’s a wonderful place to visit with a surprisingly rich cuisine. Romania strays quite a bit from the “meat, cabbage and potatoes” stereotype of Eastern European food. One of my favorite things about Romanian food is their play on sweet, slightly creamy and sour. This is pretty quintessential in most of their soups.

ciorba de fasole

Ciorba de Fasole simply translates to “bean soup.” As you can imagine, there are several variations depending on region and household. However, it usually includes some variation of smoked pork and is served in a big bread bowl. Some people add tomato paste, some use kidney beans, etc. You can adjust to your tastes (or based on what’s in your pantry)!

I thought at first the soup’s creaminess came from blending the soup a little, but not all the way. While some recipes online recommended this, others involved adding a sour cream and egg yolk mixture at the end. It sounded interesting so I thought, “What the hell, let’s experiment!”

Do it. It makes the soup so silky and delicious. Sour cream and egg yolks will likely be my soup secret from here on out! Especially with the vinegar and squeeze of lemon, the soup has a subtle tang that sings on the tongue.

The bread bowl is, of course, entirely optional. I had a hard time myself finding the right sized bread loaves for the bowls. You want something in between a roll and a big round loaf. I settled for the smallest big round loaf I could find since in Romania the bread bowls they serve it in are actually quite large. Waste is implied. (But bread is cheap!)

Non-game substitution: Bacon or leftover ham, if you have it, would be the go-to for this. Anything smoked will work if you want something kosher.

Vegetarian substitution: You can leave out the meat and still have a pretty dang delicious soup!

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