Ciorbă (Romanian, derived from the Persian shorba (شوربا) via Turkish çorba) is a general Romanian word used in Romania and the Republic of Moldova to describe sour soups consisting of various vegetables and meat.
Most people differentiate between “supă” (soup) and “ciorbă” by the fact that supă has no added acid and is usually clear (with only one exception), while ciorbă may contain a wide variety of sour ingredients, usually lemons, borș, or zeamă de varză acră (sauerkraut juice). In Moldavia region, the word borș means simply any sour soup. Lovage is a frequent addition.
Ciorbă is a widespread and popular dish in Romania, and is considered to have beneficial health effects. When served hot, it is thought to stimulate digestion and be effective against colds.
In 2013, 18% of respondents in a national poll in Romania declared ciorbă to be their favorite dish.
Types of ciorbă include:
Ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup)
Ciorbă de fasole (bean soup)
Ciorbă de cartofi (potato soup)
Ciorbă de ciocănele (soup made from chicken legs)
Ciorbă de perişoare (meatball soup)
Ciorbă de peşte (fish soup)
Ciorbă de praz (leek soup)
Ciorbă de pui (chicken soup)
Ciorbă de oase (bones soup)
Ciorbă de sfeclă (Romanian borscht)
Ciorbă de văcuţă (beef soup)
TFD calls for the herb Lovage, which belongs to the parsley family that is commonly used in Romanian cuisine. The Romans, who introduced lovage to Europe, used it widely in their cooking as well as to reduce fevers and treat stomach ailments. Germans call it maggikraut, because its aroma reminded them of maggi cubes (meaty yeast extracts). Today it is popular in South and Central European cuisines.
True lovage is native to Southern Europe but cultivated in western Asia, Germany, Italy, France, Czechia, Hungary, and the United States.
Also known as sea parsley, the leaves and stem of the lovage plant add an intense celery-like flavor to soups, stews and stocks or pork and poultry dishes. It can also be used to enhance the flavor of potato dishes.
The fresh leaves have a sharp, yeast-like and musky taste with a lemon and celery-like aroma. The dried leaves have a stronger flavor than the fresh leaf. You can buy excellent-quality dried Lovage here.
I also tweaked some of the other ingredients from the original recipe I found at forums.egullet.org, and added in some kielbasa (traditional in the Winter version of the soup) and delicious Balkan smoked chili flakes – you can buy the flakes here.
I have every confidence you will love this delicious cold-weather treat, my Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo