A soup with an incredible aroma and unique flavor, rassolnik is a true representative of the Russian cuisine. To make it you need the main ingredient – cucumber pickle juice, which Russians have a sweet spot for.
The taste of the pickle juice determines the taste of rassolnik; and there are various ways of making this soup.
Old Soup with a New Name
Rassolnik used to be called “kalya.” Later this name was used to callfish soups made with pickle juice. And kalya appeared mainly on the menu of nobles and kings. Since the mid-19thcentury kalya was no longer mentioned in cookbooks. In place of kalya came rassolnik, but without the fish. Instead, meat or offal was used.
Balance is the Key
To ensure that rassolnik had a gentle, moderately acidic and moderately salty taste, you need a certain set of ingredients: the right balance of the acidic components (cucumbers and brine) and neutral (cereals and root vegetables). Brine was diluted, boiled separately and then introduced into the broth in small portions while tasting. Besides cereals, potatoes, carrots and turnips, in rassolnik you also put spices (onion, celery, parsnips, parsley, dill, tarragon, savory, bay leaf, pepper).
Most often for rassolnik beef kidneys were used. Also were used stomach, liver, lungs, and hearts of game. Rarely offal was replaced with beef. To make offal soft and delicate to taste, it was carefully cleaned from fat and films, soaked for several hours, and then boiled for a half hour separate from the rest of the ingredients.
Pearl Barley – a Special Ingredient of St. Petersburg Rassolnik
St. Petersburg chefs were the first to add pearl barley into rassolnik. Originally, buckwheat, barley or rice was used.
This recipe became the most popular in Russia.
Pearl barley and beef kidneys are boiled until half done, separately. In the broth you add boiled veal tongue, carrots and celery, and in 10 minutes – potatoes and onions. Cucumbers are added in the end, together with spices and salt. Then, to taste, you add pickle juice.
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