Traditional Russian Kidney-Pickle Soup Recipe - Rassolnik

kidney bean stew
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    60 mins
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This traditional Russian soup recipe can be made with veal or lamb kidneys (although some use pork or beef kidneys) and benefits from tart sorrel leaves along with pickles and their juices. This brining liquid is known as rassol from which the soup gets its names. Rassolnik or rassoljnik, as it is known, varies from family to family and region to region. Some include barley and potatoes and is so thick, a spoon can stand up in it. Others are made with prime cuts of meat instead of offal, and others add purchased bottles of rassol toward the end of cooking instead of relying solely on the pickles and sorrel for the much-desired sour taste. What is common is the belief that rassolnik is a hangover cure because rassol contains vitamins which help the body to hold water and counteract the dehydration produced by over-imbibing, which causes hangovers.

What You'll Need

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 diced small leek
  • 2 ounces celeriac or celery root
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium diced dill pickles
  • 3 tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds fresh sorrel leaves, stripped, washed and chopped
  • 2 quarts fresh or canned beef stock
  • 1 pound veal or lamb kidneys, well trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Sour cream for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh dill for garnish (optional)

How to Make It

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter and add onion, leek, celeriac, carrot and potatoes. Sauté until onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Add the pickles and their juices, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaf and chopped sorrel, and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until sorrel has collapsed.
     
  2. Add the beef stock and kidneys, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf.
     
  1. In a small mixing, bowl, beat the egg yolk lightly with a fork. Temper the egg yolk with a few tablespoons of hot soup, stirring constantly. Transfer tempered egg yolk to hot soup, whisking continuously. Simmer a minute or two, but do not let the soup come to a boil. Serve in heated bowls with sour cream and fresh dill, if desired.