When asked what I could contribute to the meal, I was told I could bring a potato masher and a non-alcoholic beverage. This, although practical, seemed a bit boring to me.
So I started to think of a hostess gift I could bring specifically for Cindy since she was doing all the cooking.
Since Cindy loves mushrooms, I thought I'd do something with them. That's when Anna suggested I make Mushroom Barley Soup. And I did.
The recipe I came up with is incredibly simple. Use whatever type of mushrooms you like. You can also use vegetable broth to make the soup entirely vegetarian OR add some leftover meat to make this a meal in a bowl.
Mushroom Barley Soup
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons dry thyme
16 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
8 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper
1. Cook pearl barley: add pearl barley to salted water, bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 35 minutes.
2. In a soup pot, heat the oil. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add onion, garlic, celery and thyme and cook for 4 minutes.
4. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes.
5. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Add cooked pearl barley and heat it through.
I think the soup turned out great. I left half of it for myself, and brought the rest to Cindy. The soup gets even better as it sits in your refrigerator. Now that I'm writing about this, I think I should have topped it with some sour cream...but then I love sour cream.
What have you brought as a hostess gift that wasn't necessarily consumed during the meal?