Rassolnik – beef soup with salted cucumbers

Rassolnik is very easy to cook, if you have all the ingredients. The taste of rassolnik is unforgettable and I’m pretty sure that most of you will fall in love with this recipe. For the classic version one should take beef. But if you want to reduce time of cooking, you can replace beef with chicken or wild mushrooms (for vegetarian version). Usually I cook rassolnik with beef, because I’m busy with other things, while it’s boiling. I will list all the options below.

Ingredients (for a pot with capacity 5 l.):

  • 500 g of boneless beef – can be replaced with chicken or fresh/frozen preferably wild mushrooms like leccinum / chanterelle / porcini (champignons are possible too); if you have dried mushrooms, you need 50-70 g.
  • 500 g of potatoes
  • 150 g of pearl barley
  • 125 g of carrots
  • 125 g of onions
  • 200 g of salted cucumbers
  • 250 g of cucumber brine (that was left from salted cucumbers)
  • 2,5 l of water
  • 1 big bay leaf
  • 0,5 tsp of freshly grounded black pepper
  • 2,5 tsp of salt
  • 1-2 tbsp of frying oil

Salted cucumbers (and their brine) contain no vinegar. Don’t try to replace salted cucumbers with pickled (marinated). There are different types of pearl barley all over the world. I know 2 of them:

Pearl barley & Chinese pearl barley
1 – pearl barley that we consume in Russia, 2 – Chinese pearl barley. Scale is in centimeters

You need the 1st one variety of barley for rassolnik. But if there’s no possibility to find the right pearl barley, you can replace it with the 2d one, it will go. Also, those who suffer from celiac disease – choose rice, barley contains gluten. For the rice reduce time of cooking: omit step 2.

Instructions

1. Peel carrot and onion, dice them and fry in some oil at medium heat until golden brown (right in a pot, if you use steel one). And switch off.

2. Cut all sinews off the meat, if there are any. Dice the meat, put it in a pot with fried vegetables, add water and bring to a boil. Stir in the foam, reduce heat and simmer covered 1,5-2 hours for beef. If you use chicken, go straight to the next step without waiting for an hour.

3. Add barley and simmer 30 min.

4. Meanwhile peel potatoes and dice them + salted cucumbers.

5. Add the rest of ingredients except cucumbers to the soup. If you cook rassolnik with mushrooms – it’s time to add them now. Bring soup to a boil and simmer covered for 25 min.

6. Add diced salted cucumbers and cook soup for another 5 min.

7. Taste rassolnik – if needed, add more salt (as cucumber brine contains different amount of it). Also there can be a lack of sour taste (if salted cucumbers are not homemade, the brine could be dissolved with salted water), that’s why you may need to add some lemon juice or a pinch of citric acid.

Rassolnik with beef
Rassolnik with pearl barley and beef
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