Roasted Pear and Barley Pilaf Recipe

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Photo by Fotolia/majivecka
Bartlett pears are sweet on their own, and roasting them draws out their musky flavor—and smells delicious.
1 hr 30 min DURATION
30 min PREP TIME
4 servings SERVINGS


  • 1 large Bartlett pear, cut into eight wedges and cored
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) pearled barley
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) chopped toasted walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss the pear wedges with the oil and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the pears in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast the pears for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through, until they are golden and tender. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the pears stand at room temperature until they are cool enough to handle, then chop them into bite-sized pieces and set them aside. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Pour in the stock, 1 cup (240 ml) of water, the bay leaf, and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the barley is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand at room temperature, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Fluff the barley with a fork and fold in the pears, nuts, parsley, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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    Reprinted with permission from Fruitful (c) 2014 Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. You can buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes.

Fruitful (Running Press, 2014) by Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck is a trip to the local orchard, overflowing with ripe, seasonal produce…and it’s not just desserts! From sweet to savory (including fresh juices), every chapter is devoted to the produce of the moment: rhubarb, strawberries, apples, plums, apricots, peaches, quinces, pears, and more. The following recipe for pearled barley with roasted pear and walnuts is from the chapter “Autumn.”

You can buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes.

Roasting, typically a cool-weather technique applied to herb-flecked meats and sturdy root vegetables, is ideal for firm, musky pears, which commingle with these foods just fine. Tossed with warm barley, roasted pears make for a filling autumn side dish, but they would also be satisfying with a platter of chicken or a wedge of stinky cheese.

Roasted Pear and Barley Pilaf Recipe