Spring Lamb and Barley Pie with Lemon,
Rosemary and Mint
A lovely pie for spring – lamb, leeks and young vegetables, fragrant with lemon and herbs. Plain flour thickens the juices and mops up excess fat. Ready-made puff pastry makes a superb flaky topping, or use shortcrust pastry if you prefer. The filling can be made in advance and reheated.
You will need a 2-litre rectangular pie dish with a flat rim.
pearl barley 100g
rapeseed oil 4 tbsp
boneless lamb 1.2kg cut into 2cm cubes, excess fat removed
unsalted butter a good knob
banana shallots 3, chopped
carrots 3 large, preferably organic, halved lengthways and cut into chunks
rosemary 2 sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
freshly ground black pepper ¼ tsp
lemon finely grated zest of 1
plain flour 3 tbsp plus extra for rolling out pastry
hot vegetable stock or lamb stock 850ml
plain flour 3 tbsp, plus extra for rolling out pastry
baby leeks 5, halved lengthways and cut into finger-length chunks
shelled peas 150g
mint leaves small handful, chopped
ready-made puff pastry or shortcrust pastry 600g
egg 1, organic or free-range, lightly beaten
1) Cook the pearl barley in a pan of boiling water for 30 minutes until tender but still with some bite, then drain.
2) While the barley is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the lamb in batches (don’t crowd the pan). Season with a little salt, and fry over a medium–high heat for about 10 minutes until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard the fatty liquid in the pan.
3) While the lamb is frying, heat the remaining oil and the knob of butter in a large heavy-based casserole. Fry the shallots and carrots over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the shallots are soft but not browned.
4) Add the meat to the casserole, stirring to mix. Add the rosemary, ½ teaspoon of salt, the pepper and lemon zest. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to mix. Cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently, without a lid, for 30 minutes, or until the meat is fairly tender.
5) Add the barley and leeks, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and mint, simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and ladle the filling into the pie dish.
6) Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Flour the work surface and your rolling pin, and roll out the pastry to a large rectangle about 3cm bigger than the pie dish.
7) Brush the flat rim of the pie dish with some of the beaten egg. Cut narrow strips of pastry to fit all around the rim. Brush the top of the strips with the beaten egg.
8) Trim the rest of the pastry into a rectangle slightly larger than the pie dish. Place on top of the filled dish. Gently press down around the edges, and neatly trim the overhang with scissors. Crimp the edges with a fork. Cut holes in the top to let out the steam. Brush the top with egg wash.
9) Place on a baking tray and put in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
Recipe © Christine McFadden from Flour: a Comprehensive Guide, published by Absolute Press/Bloomsbury