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Russian Barley Pickle Soup Recipe for Rassolnik with Chicken

Our Russian barley pickle soup recipe for rassolnik made with chicken and vegetables makes a healthy, hearty Russian soup or stew, depending on how dense you like this beloved Russian dish. While borscht might be the best known Russian soup, rassolnik has a special place in people’s hearts and stomachs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Soup, Stew
Cuisine: Russian
Servings: 4
Calories: 557kcal
Author: Lara Dunston


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups water
  • 400 g chicken pieces of your preference we like thighs
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 1 large carrot peeled, grated
  • 2 litres water
  • half white cabbage grated
  • 1 potato peeled, diced (2cm cubes)
  • 1 small carrot sliced (1cm diameter)
  • 200 g mushrooms sliced
  • 2 gherkins pickled cucumbers, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp pickled cucumber brine

To Serve

  • 4 tbsp sour cream


  • Rinse one cup of pearl barley in a fine mesh sieve under running water until the water is clear, then transfer to a medium sized pot, along with three cups of water, and boil for 30 minutes or as per the instructions on the packet.
  • While the barley is cooking, sear the chicken pieces in a little oil in a round-bottomed wok or frying pan until the skin is brown then set aside.
  • Heat the cooking oil and butter the same wok or pan then add the onion, garlic and grated carrot and sauté on low heat until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant, taking care to brown but not burn the garlic.
  • Transfer the fried onion, garlic and carrot to your favourite soup or stew pot, then add the water, cabbage, potato, sliced carrot, mushrooms, gherkins, seasoning and spices, and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Add the gherkin brine, chicken pieces and pearl barley, simmer for another 10 minutes or so. The barley will continue to expand, so add more water if necessary, then taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to suit your palate.
  • Just before serving, add a tablespoon each of fresh parsley and fresh dill, stir, then distribute between bowls, garnishing with a dollop of sour cream and the remainder of the fresh herbs.


Calories: 557kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1166mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5652IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg