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Recipe for Mushroom Barley Soup

I spent this Thanksgiving with Cindy and her family. We've known each other for ten years. Wow, time flies. I can't remember how many times we've spent Thanksgiving together, but if we are all in DC for the holidays, it's a given. Cindy and her family are my surrogate family--I'm the adopted older cousin ;)

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?


Delicious Dishings said...

I think I usually tend to bring a dessert... and it usually gets consumed!

Capital Spice said...

Mushroom barley soup has such great memories for me - it was always a staple at my family's Russian Christmas celebrations. The key ingredient is the mushrooms, and it wasn't until after my grandmother passed that we learned just how hard it was to find the specific dried mushrooms she used in her recipe. The Russian Gourmet in Alexandria has been a great resource for them in this area.

As for hostess gifts, we frequently bring jars of bourbon-soaked cherries that we picked and canned ourselves. They go great in Manhattans and other cocktails, but they also work on top of vanilla ice cream.

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray said...

This looks so delicious, I love barley in soup. Also--those bowls look familiar ;)

MangoTomato said...

of course they do :) I actually saw a new color a few days ago: a very dark blue, but decided to resist.

Francesg29 said...

Olga, I made this soup and it's delish! My house smells amazing right now. Thanks so much for sharing! :)