Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf

Barley PilafFamily Favorites
We have our cookbook club dinner this weekend—with a twist. Normally, our dinners end with a discussion to decide which book we will cook from next month. Last time, my son threw out a great idea that is perfect for the holiday season. Instead of cooking from a book, he suggested that we all make our favorite family recipes. (Not bad for an 11 year old!) So that’s what we’re doing.

Between my sister and I, there are a number of options…but there are really only a handful of true family favorites that we all make. We did a little Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who gets to cook what.

Check out these earlier posts for a number of our family favorites like: Ebleskiver, Carrot Soufflé, Gam’s Gingie Cookies (Sweedish Ginger Cookies) and Hot Cheesy Things. All will be represented at this dinner. There is one more that my sister will prepare, and I am shocked that I haven’t written about it before—because it is such a Larson family tradition.

We have this Barley Pine Nut Pilaf every Christmas. In fact, it is so identifiable with Christmas Dinner that we (almost) never eat it during the rest of the year. The dish pairs well with any roasted meats or poultry as well as the Carrot Soufflé. The cookbook even suggests using it as a stuffing for game hens, though I have never tried it.

The recipe was originally published in the 1980 Edition of the Junior League of Palo Alto Private Collection Cookbook, which (as far as I know) is no longer in print. This is too bad because it has some great recipes. If you are lucky, you can find a few stray copies with a quick web search.

Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf
Serves 6

1 cup Pearl Barley
1 stick butter (the recipe says 6 tablespoons but I like to live dangerously)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped, fresh parsley
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 1/3 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse barley in cold water and drain.

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat butter and brown pine nuts. Remove the pine nuts with a slotted spoon and reserve. Sauté the green onions and barley until lightly toasted. Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in nuts, parsley, salt and pepper. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole (not greased).

Heat the broth to boiling, and pour over the barley mixture. Stir to blend well. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

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