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5 from 1 vote

Romanian soup with stuffed courgettes (Ciorba)

This is a vegetarian version of Irina Georgescu's stuffed courgette soup with soured cream from her book Carpathia. I used an apple corer to hollow out the courgettes. I used quinoa rather than rice which I cooked in a rice steamer. (I'm going to write a piece on rice and how you really must, as all Chinese do, get a rice steamer).
Course: Main Course, Soup, Starter
Cuisine: Romanian, Vegetarian
Keyword: Carpathia, Ciorba de dovlecei umpluti, Courgette recipes, Courgettes, Irina Georgescu, Soup, Stuffed Vegetables, Vegetarian soup
Servings: 4


For the stuffed courgettes

  • 4 courgettes cut into 5cm chunks and hollowed out, reserve insides for stuffing

For the stuffing

  • 300 g smoked quinoa or rice I used Hodmedods or any quinoa
  • 600 ml water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 250 g button mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 glass white wine optional
  • 2 preserved lemons pips removed, finely chopped

For the broth

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 6 cherry tomatoes finely sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt

To serve:

  • 100 ml Greek yoghurt
  • bunch fresh mint leaves to decorate


  • Preheat the oven to 180C

For the stuffing

  • Add the quinoa, water and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until cooked and fluffy. The water should be absorbed (if not then drain).
  • In a frying pan, heat the butter and oil and add the mushrooms and garlic and fry until light golden.
  • Add the leftover courgette interiors, preserved lemon and white wine. Then stir in the cooked quinoa.
  • Stuff the courgettes with the mixture, packing it in fairly tightly. Set aside.

For the broth

  • In a medium saucepan, add all the ingredients and simmer.

To assemble

  • Pour the broth into a medium oven dish. Place the stuffed courgettes in the broth and cover the dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the courgettes are cooked but not mushy.
  • Serve 3 pieces of courgette for each person with a generous ladle of broth.
  • Add dollops of yoghurt and a few mint leaves