Soup is a dish that contains at least 50% liquid, an encyclopedia says. But in the Balkans, soups are not popular, people here prefer čorba.
Čorba came to Montenegro and other Balkan countries from Turkey. It happened many centuries ago, and the original recipe is hard to identify. Most likely, the first čorba was cooked with tripe (škembić), the tripe was finely chopped and boiled along with onions over low heat.
This is a modernized recipe, it includes some spices that were unknown in Old Balkans.
Čorba od škembića:
- 1 kg calf tripe;
- 2 onions;
- 1 tablespoon lard;
- 1 tablespoon flour;
- 1 bay leaf;
- 5 grains of black pepper;
- chopped fresh parsley;
- ground pepper, salt.
Cover cleaned tripe with cold water, add whole onions, peppercorns, bay leaf and cook until tender, 2-3 hours. Strain the broth, cut the chilled tripe into small pieces. Mix lard, flour and ground pepper, add this sauce to the broth along with chopped tripe, boil for a few minutes. Season with parsley before serving.
Nowadays, meat and fish čorba are the most popular variations in the restaurant menus and at the family kitchens.
Veal čorba is a very traditional dish.
- 1 onion;
- 2 carrots;
- 2 potatoes;
- parsnip, celery and parsley roots;
- 1 teaspoon butter;
- 2 tablespoons flour;
- 1 bay leaf;
- 1 yolk;
- fresh chopped parsley;
- salt, pepper.
In a heavy-bottom pot heat the butter, cook finely chopped onion until soft, add meat, cover with water and simmer for an hour. Add diced vegetables, flour, about 2 more liters of water, season with salt and pepper, cook for 30 minutes. Before serving, add the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with parsley. Other options — lemon juice and/or sour cream.
The main difference between čorba and soup is thickness, and taking this criteria into account, modern Montenegrin cuisine offers many new flavours of the traditional dish — tomato, cauliflower, mushroom čorba and so on.