Mushroom and barley pies

9 Apr

 Mushroom and barley pies

I was digging around my cupboard the other day, deciding what needed to be used up or tossed out, and found a bag of pearl barley, probably bought for a wintery soup that never eventuated. The obvious question then, was what to do with it? When I have the time I quite enjoy this way of cooking…discovering a recipe based on one ingredient and mixing and matching ingredients depending on what is on the shelves of my cupboards and those of the local fruit and veg store. So I searched and I found this recipe for Mushroom and Barley Pie on Smitten Kitchen.

What a win! I also had some amazing truffle butter in the fridge that just had to be finished before our return to Australia. It had been sent all the way from Italy by my dear sister. The truffle butter was total decadence – it wafted out of the kitchen as the mushrooms cooked, earthy and delicious, and it smelled just like the restaurants of our honeymoon. If you have some in your fridge, this is a great use for it. If not, using a mix of mushrooms will help the pie’s texture and taste along a lot. The best of the mushroom season has passed here in Van, but I bet there are some wonderful varieties in the farmer’s markets in Australia right now.

Deb from Smitten Kitchen reported that the pie needed a bit of a flavour boost (challenge accepted!) so I used brown mushrooms, shiitakes, dried porcinis soaked in vege stock, and the lovely truffle butter. Then I added mushroom’s most complimentary flavours: thyme, leek and Parmesan cheese with a little bit of lemon zest. I did cheat a little and made pot pies – the best bit of pastry is the top anyway, and dishing the meal becomes so much easier when the portioning is already done.


¾ cup pearl barley

5g porcini, broken into small pieces

½ cup vegetable stock

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed

500g mixed mushrooms, sliced – I used brown and shiitake

5 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

zest of 1 lemon

1 level tbsp truffle butter

¼ cup dry white wine

1 cup whole milk ricotta (don’t use the low fat version here, it seems to go a bit grainy when it’s cooked, or be even more decadent: substituting ricotta for 1 cup mascarpone would be amazing )

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

200g puff pastry

1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash


Cook barley in 6 cups of simmering water for 45mins. Drain and set aside.

Soak porcini in vegetable stock for at least 30 mins. Drain, reserving soaking liquid.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Meanwhile, melt butter and oil in a large fry pan over medium heat. Add leeks, stirring until softened, then add garlic and continue to stir until fragrant, 2-3 mins.

Add mixed mushrooms, soaked porcini, thyme and zest, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine with leeks.

Dollop on truffle butter, if using, and stir occasionally until mushrooms are softened.

Add wine and reserved soaking liquid and simmer for 2 mins.

Place mushroom and leek mixture in a large bowl, stir through barley and allow to cool.

While the filling cools, roll out the pastry on a dry, floured surface to a size that will cover 4 large ramekins. Slice rolled out pastry into quarters. Prepare the ramekins by lightly greasing the top 1/3 of the side to prevent the pastry from sticking.

Stir the ricotta and Parmesan through the mushroom and leek mixture and check and adjust seasoning.

Divide mixture up amongst ramekins (mine hold 1 cup of mixture each, with about 2cm at the top for the pastry). Place each quarter of pastry over the mixture and tuck it in a little, like a blanket. (I had a bit of mushroom mixture left over, which was lovely on toast the next morning, but it could probably be stretched to 6 pies with a 50% increase in pastry.)

Brush the pastry with the egg wash.

Place ramekins on a tray in the oven and bake for 35-40 mins, or until the pastry becomes golden and crisp.


2 Responses to “Mushroom and barley pies”

  1. Stephanie April 16, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    These are on my menu for tomorrow night. Wish I had some truffle butter though! Thanks for all the recipe ideas xx

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