C’s masters swim team holds an annual Soup Dinner as their main social function away from the pool. It’s a potluck of sorts, where people bring appetizers, soups, and desserts, and everyone gets to taste a bit of it all. This year, there were team mugs for sale (for the soups) — a swell idea — and there were compostable plates and soup spoons (Taterware) to reduce our waste. It’s a fun get-together where we can all see each other fully-clothed and dry (!), and serves as the longest stretch of time to chat outside of the locker room ;) Awards are given for the best soup (and best vegetarian soup), and best dessert.
Unfortunately, we’ve been out of town for many of the past few Soup Dinners, but not this year (for C at least, M is already in Geelong!). C just had to make Susan’s barley soup with prosciutto and peas (from Christmas in Sedona one year). We routinely make this soup at home, and have even tweaked it just enough to make it dehydrate-able for use in the backcountry. Basically, we love this soup.
There were a lot of great soups this year, including a divine Thai chicken with cilantro and basil, and a beautiful West African peanut soup.
The first place soup, folks: that’s right! the barley soup!!
C won a haircut at George’s XL Salon in San Mateo — perfect! — as she was planning on getting a haircut before Chinese New Year, and donate her long locks to an as-yet undetermined choice of charities that collects hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients.
So without further ado, the fabulous Barley Soup recipe:
1/4 cup butter (or EVOO)
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup pearl barley
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 lb finely slivered prosciutto
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup whipping cream (or milk)
10 oz frozen petite peas, thawed
1 cup grated parmesan
In a 5-6 qt pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
Cook the shallots until soft and translucent.
Add the barley and cook until light brown.
Stir in the stock, prosciutto, and pepper, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in the cream, peas, and parmesan and heat until warm.
[Thank you, thank you, thank you to Susan for sharing this wonderful recipe!]