Rassolnik is one of the most favorite traditional soups which is cooked with pickle juice and pickles as the basis. Rassolnik, along with Solyanka and Ukha soups, is considered “man” food probably due to the myth that Russians are great lovers of alcoholic drinks and these meals save from hangover in the morning. Indeed, salty, sour, spicy soups with fatty and rich broth are very common for Russian cuisine. But looking into the past, you can understand that it happened in the first place due to climate and household characteristics of the Russian people. Pickled vegetables, pickles or sauerkraut in the soup helped reduce the fattiness of the broth which was sometimes cooked with the meat of not the best quality. Diversity in the ingredients of the soup is due to poverty rather than ingenuity of the peasants, and this phenomenon can be seen in other cuisines all over the world.
Now Rassolnik is known as a soup only, but it has become liquid quite recently. In the first half of the 19th century the so-called chicken pot pie with buckwheat, eggs and brine went under this name. And before that similar soups were called Kalia, now this name is applied to sour fish soups only. Kalia consisted of pickle brine, meat, and beets, and was a common dish in the 17th century. During fast days Kalia was cooked with oily fish or caviar, and those who loved and cooked the soup were called Kaleitschiki. Nowadays these terms went out of use and similar soups are simply called fish brines.
Today the recipe of Rassolnik is well established, although every cook has his own variation. We offer you to cook this fragrant, delicious soup with a memorable taste.
beef on the bone for the broth
0.5-0.7 lb chicken gizzards and hearts
2.5 l water
5.28 oz pearl barley
3-4 medium pickles
Salt, pepper, spices and herbs to taste
In order to speed up the process of cooking Rassolnik, some products can be prepared in advance. Beef on the bone is needed for good rich broth, broth from giblets is better not to use in the soup. So, you need to precook the beef and strain the broth. Then, boil the hearts and gizzards and chop them.
Remember to use pickled and not marinated cucumbers. It is very important because cucumbers should not give sour taste to the dish.
Add pickles only when the potatoes are ready. You can grate pickles and stew them separately.
Barley is boiled for a long time, so it can also be cooked in advance and added in the cooking process.
When the potatoes are cooked in beef broth, add barley, giblets, finely chopped beef and stewed cucumbers. Pre-fry onions and carrots in a pan and add them to the soup. Let all the ingredients boil for a bit. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Add spices at the end.