Food Guy Jon Jackson tries out New York Times writer Melissa Clark's apple-barley "get together" and declares it delicious. Clark's risotto-esque recipe was inspired, but not limited by, the kosher cooking of her grandmother, Ella, who cooked "the greatest hits of Jewish cuisine. She could simmer up a tender matzo ball and some succulent pot roast, but I doubt she ever met a barley pilaf, let alone thought of making one herself."
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound chorizo, diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup barley
1 2/3 cups chicken broth, more as needed
Pinch kosher salt
3/4 cup shelled, chopped and toasted hazelnuts
4 tart, crisp apples, like Granny Smiths.
1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add chorizo and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add barley and stir to coat with oil. Cook, stirring, until barley smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until barley is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in hazelnuts.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick apples with fork in several places (this will prevent them from bursting while baking). Halve apples lengthwise and cut out core with a paring knife or grapefruit spoon.
3. Place apples, cut side up, in an 11-by 7-inch baking dish. Pour 1/4 inch water in bottom of pan. Mound barley mixture on apples. Cover with foil and transfer to oven to bake until apples are fork tender, about 45 minutes.
Yield: 4 to 8 servings.