About this recipe
I found this Melissa Clark recipe a few years ago in the New York Times and it’s a dish I have to make a few times each fall and winter. I’ve fiddled with the recipe, subbing out some of the onions for carrots, adding pecans or not according to availability. I like to make a pretty-good-size batch of the chorizo and barley mixture and freeze it in 2-cup portions. With frozen filling, I can cook 1 apple (2 halves) as part of meal for 2, or 3 apples to make an entire meal for 2. The full written recipe below makes 4 apples (8 halves), so serve the way you see fit. This recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting cooked mushrooms for the sausage.
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add chorizo and onion/carrot 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 nuts if using.
Preheat oven to 350°. Prick apples with fork in several places (this will prevent them from bursting while baking). Halve apples lengthwise and cut out core with a melon-baller, paring knife or grapefruit spoon.
Place apples, cut side up, in a baking dish, so they are pretty close together. Pour ¼ inch water (or broth, if you have a little extra) in bottom of pan. Mound barley mixture on apples; don’t worry if it falls into the pan. I often pack some of the filling around the apples. Cover with foil and transfer to oven to bake until apples are fork tender, about 45 minutes.
Yield 4 to 8 servings