Barley Pilaf with Pearl Onions


This nutty pilaf is a variation on a recipe from columnist Susan Spungen's grandmother Essie, and is perfect for soaking up the rich juices from Juki's Short Ribs.


  • 10 ounces white pearl onions (about 2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon chicken fat, margarine, or unsalted butter

  • 2 cups pearl barley

  • 1 quart homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, plus more if needed

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add onions, and blanch until skins loosen, about one minute. Drain onions in a colander, and rinse with cold water. Peel onions, and set aside.

  2. Heat the fat in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until hot but not smoking. Add barley; cook, stirring frequently, until the barley is browned and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Add stock and reserved onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook barley until tender but chewy and all liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes; if all the liquid is absorbed and the barley is still not done, add a few tablespoons stock or water, and continue cooking. Serve hot.

Cook's Notes

You can substitute frozen pearl onions for fresh, if you like, and skip step one.

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