This soup won third prize in the Homemade Soups Contest in The 1993 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Congratulations to winner Melanija Wozniak from Vernon, Connecticut.
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.