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 Barley Pilaf with Fennel, Pecans and Cranberries Recipe-20706

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 2


Barley contains a kind of starch that feels rich and creamy on the tongue and makes this festive dish moist and reminiscent of a Thanksgiving stuffing. Needless to say, it goes well with roast chicken or turkey. Unlike a traditional stuffing that is oven-baked for an hour or more, this one cooks in about 7 minutes on top of the stove—thanks to the quick-cooking barley flakes.

Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups barley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Set a heavy 2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pecans and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Tip the nuts out of the pot onto a chopping board.

Add the barley flakes to the pot and toast, stirring frequently, until the flakes are aromatic, about 2 minutes. Push the barley aside. Add the butter to the empty side of the pot, and as it melts, stir in the fennel seeds. Let them sizzle in the butter for 30 seconds or so. Then stir the butter into the flakes.

Stir in the broth, cranberries, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes. If the flakes aren’t tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, stir in a few tablespoons of water, cover, and continue cooking until done.

Chop the pecans coarsely and stir them into the barley. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Other Ideas:

• Use rolled oats, spelt, or Kamut flakes instead of barley flakes.

• Try dried cherries, raisins, or dried currants instead of cranberries.

• Press portions of the pilaf into a coffee cup or ramekin and unmold onto plates. 

© 2009 Lorna Sass

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

418kcal (21%)
425mg (18%)
14g (22%)
3g (16%)
8mg (3%)
25mcg RAE (1%)
1mg (1%)
62mg (6%)
4mg (24%)

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  • kararota

    11.01.13 Flag comment

    @gustus: Yikes! Thanks so much for catching that typo. It should be 7 minutes. My sincere apologies!

    Kara Rota
    Editorial Director

  • gustus

    10.31.13 Flag comment

    There's a disconnect between the introductory notes (in italics) and the details of the recipe. Intro says "this one cooks in about 70 minutes on top of the stove" but recipe info says "Total time: Under 15 minutes" and cooking instructions seem to bear this out. Please clarify.


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