Russian Soup with Pickles


2 tablespoons medium barley
3 cups water
4 cups (three 10 1/2-ounce cans) consommé
2 cups (one 13 3/4-ounce can) chicken broth
2 cups diced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large onion, minced
1 veal kidney (or 5 lamb kidneys), trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 small dill pickles, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons minced parsley
pepper to taste


Cook barley in the water for about 1 hour, drain, and reserve. In a large kettle combine consommé and chicken broth. Add potatoes and cook until half-tender. In a separate pan, heat butter and cook onion until soft but not browned. Add kidneys and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add pickles, barley, onion, and kidneys to soup mixture, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Skim fat if needed. Pour sour cream into a large soup tureen, add a few teaspoons of soup, and beat vigorously to prevent curdling. Pour remaining soup over mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper. 


Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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