Pickle Soup

Pickle Soup?! Are you as curious as I was? I found a recipe for this unusual sounding soup tucked into the pages of an old cookbook my mother-in-law had gifted Eric and me. Well, my Polish/Russian/European upbringing couldn't resist trying my hand at this intriguing soup. I made some changes to the recipe that resulted in one of the most soul-satisfying soups ever- chock full of veggies with that sour dill component (I used Eric's homemade baby dill pickles!) that makes it so compelling, and earthy brown rice or wild rice for added heartiness. Oh boy, is it delicious!!!  I made a double batch for our MealShare Monday elders that we cook for in our apartment community and they loved it! If you like dill pickles and a hearty vegetable stew, you may be making pots of it for all your people too!

- Adrienne

Pickle Soup  makes 10 servings


1/2 c           Brown or Wild Rice
2 t               Sea Salt
2-3 sprigs   Fresh Thyme
2 ea.           Bay Leaves
8 c              Water
4-6 T          Olive Oil
1 lg              White Onion, chopped
1 1/2 c         Leeks (white and light green part), sliced 
2 cloves       Garlic, minced
12 oz            Cremini Mushrooms (or other brown mushrooms), chopped
3-4 med       Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 1 c), diced
1 c                 Carrots, peeled & diced
1 c                 Celery, peeled & diced
1 med           Turnip, peeled & diced
1 lg                Parsnip, peeled & diced
1 med           Red Bell Pepper, cored & diced
1/2 bn           Swiss Chard, chopped (stems & leaves)
1/4 wedge    Green Cabbage, chopped
12 oz btl        GF Beer to deglaze (optional)
4 c                  Vegetable Broth
1/2 c               Fresh Dill, finely chopped
1/2 c               Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 c                   Dill Pickles, diced (or more to taste!)
1/2 c               Dill Pickle Brine, strained
to taste           Black Pepper, freshly ground
as needed      Sour Cream for garnish (optional)



  1. Rinse the brown or wild rice, pour into a large soup pot with the 8 cups of water, the salt, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook, covered, about 30 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the rice is cooking, in a large skillet over med-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil at a time to sauté the onions, leeks, garlic and  mushrooms in batches so as not to crowd the pan until vegetables are soft and just beginning to brown about 8-10 minutes per batch. Set the cooked veggies on a sheet tray or in a large soup pot while cooking the remaining vegetables.
  3. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet, then add the potatoes, carrots, celery, turnip and parsnip and sauté as above, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, adding olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Deglaze the skillet with the beer and stir the bits on the bottom of the skillet to release them and add to the tray or pot of cooked veggies.
  5. Add a tablespoon more of olive oil to the skillet, then add the Swiss chard, cabbage and red pepper and sauté as above, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, adding olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.
  6. Add all the sautéed veggies to the large soup pot along with the cooked rice, vegetable broth and the fresh herbs. Cook on a low simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to develop.
  7. Add the diced pickles and pickle brine and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pickles and brine will become milder as it simmers, releasing their acidity into the soup the longer it cooks.
  8. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and serve piping hot in bowls or soup crocks garnished with a spoonful of sour cream if desired.
  9. Serve with hot, buttered Eban's Bakehouse Dinner Rolls.
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