Traditional Russian Kidney-Pickle Soup (Rassolnik)

kidney bean stew
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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
436 Calories
25g Fat
23g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 436
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 31%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 267mg 89%
Sodium 494mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 31g
Calcium 107mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 small leek (diced)
  • 2 ounces celeriac (or celery root)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and diced)
  • 4 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 4 medium dill pickles (diced)
  • 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 beef stock (fresh or canned)
  • 1 pound veal or lamb kidneys (well-trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Optional garnish: Sour cream
  • Optional garnish: Fresh dill

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

  3. Add the beef stock and kidneys, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf.

  4. 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.

  5. Transfer tempered egg yolk to hot soup, whisking continuously. Simmer a minute or two, but do not let the soup come to a boil.

  6. Serve in heated bowls with sour cream and fresh dill, if desired. Enjoy!

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.