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 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!
Ciorba de Fasole
- 6-8oz Diced smoked meat (Either smoked sausage or hog ham)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 3 carrots (peeled and diced)
- 2 stalks celery (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 8 cups stock or water
- 2 cans white beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 5oz sour cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 sprig fresh dill (roughly chopped, plus more for garnish)
- 1 lemon (wedged for garnish and to squeeze over finished soup)
- 4 small round loves of bread (tops cut off and centers hollowed out for bread bowls.)
|In a soup pot over medium-high heat, cook the sausage or ham until the fat renders out and the meat becomes crispy (about 5-7 minutes). Remove some for garnish. Add the onions, carrot, garlic and celery and cook in the rendered fat until just starting to soften.
|Add the broth, beans, bay leaves, thyme as well as some salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10-ish minutes. While simmering, combine the vinegar, sour cream and egg yolks. Also, this is a good time to hollow out your bread bowls.
|Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly (maybe 5 minutes). Add in the sour cream and egg yolk mixture and the dill and stir to combine.
|Serve warm in a bread bowl with a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with more dill and crispy meat bits.