Traditional lamb soup. Romanian spring lamb soup, an Easter favorite.
It’s fair to say that Romanians these days refrain from eating a lot of lamb.
Main reasons being the availability, small towns won’t actually have any lamb meat on butcher’s shelves until around Easter.
Sheep farmers won’t really sacrifice any animals during other periods, as a lot of people don’t like the “sheep taste”. They go as far as saying (even at Easter) that they won’t eat spring lamb because it tastes like…sheep.
But tradition prevails, and every year at Easter there’s a lamb “craze”. Lots of lamb dishes made, a meatloaf called “drob” made from offal and meat, a soup (described here, more like a broth) and the lamb roast. Although these days, like everywhere, pork or beef, chicken or kid goat might even be on the menu.
- 1kg lamb meat, bone in
- vegetables: carrots, onions, celery, celeriac, spring garlic
- 50g rice
- 100ml sour cream
- 2 eggs
- salt & pepper, vinegar
- lovage and fresh parsley
I prefer to use for this dish lamb neck, the meat is soft around the bones, the bones impart a good flavor, also they are much cheaper than other cuts. But, should you wish, diced leg or shoulder can be used, off-cuts from other parts of the animal as well. I’ll stick with the lamb neck if I have it.
- Keep the meat in a large pot with cold water at least 30 minutes.
- Bring the same pot to boil gradually, and on the lowest fire you can, you can add a pinch of salt. Leave to boil for a couple of hours (skimming the impurities from the top of the pan) until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.
- Remove the meat from the pan, separate from the bones in small chunks (2cm) and discard the bones.
- Strain the broth from the pan through a fine sieve to remove any small bones or other bits from the broth.
- Bring the soup back to boil, add the finely chopped vegetables. Also add the rice, washed well in cold water.
- Once all the vegetables are boiled, you can put the meat chunks back into the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Traditionally Romanians will add something called “bors”, a fermented liquid made from flour and wheat husks, if that’s not available you could use a commercial powder variety should you find it. If neither are available, vinegar or lemon juice can be used.
- Remove from the heat and let it stand 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile beat well the eggs (some people use just yolks) and mix through with the sour cream.
- The same way as with the tripe soup use a ladle and add soup to the egg and cream mixture. Ladle by ladle, mixing continuously until the mixture in the bowl has the approximate same temperature of the tripe soup that’s left in the pan. Then you can put everything back into the pan, and the traditional lamb soup is almost ready to serve.
- Finally add to the traditional lamb soup a good handful of chopped lovage (Romanians love lovage and these days can be found around at garden centres or internet) and some freshly chopped parsley. Some regions prefer to add also tarragon to the broth, I much like the taste of lovage, and that’s the only herb I use.
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.