Lamb and pearl barley pie

Lamb and pearl barley pie

The Tivoli Road Baker
8 individual pies or 1 family pie
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

This pie makes a nourishing mid-winter dinner. The pearl barley gives the lamb and vegetable braise a beautiful texture, and makes a hearty meal out of a simple pie. Because the lamb is cooked on the bone you get lovely marrow richness through the filling.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity see method for ingredients
1/2 quantity see method for ingredients


Quantity Ingredient
5 lamb shanks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
25ml vegetable oil
25g unsalted butter
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 large onions, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 bunch thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
25g tomato paste
25g plain (all-purpose) flour
660ml red wine
400g tinned whole tomatoes
65g pearl barley


Quantity Ingredient
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cumin seeds


  1. Roll out the savoury shortcrust pastry into a sheet roughly 4 mm (1/8 in) thick. Wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Roll the puff pastry into a sheet roughly 3 mm (1/8 in) thick, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Let the pastry rest after rolling it out – this will stop it shrinking once cut.
  2. To prepare the filling, preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a large, heavy based casserole dish on a medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Brown off the lamb in batches, and set aside. Melt the butter in the same pan over a medium heat, then add the carrots and onions. Cook these for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, until they start to colour.
  4. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down and add the tomato paste and flour, and mix well. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the red wine and tomatoes. Bring the pan to a simmer and skim off any scum.
  5. Remove from the heat, add the pearl barley and lamb, cover with a lid and braise in the oven for 2½ hours. The filling is ready when the meat is falling off the bone, and you should have a nice, thick gravy. Reduce the liquid further on the stove if necessary. Cool slightly, and when cool enough to handle, remove the bones and break up the meat, making sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Leave to cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight.
  6. Before you assemble the pies, preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) and lightly grease your pie dishes. Lay the savoury shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured bench, and cut out 8 discs of pastry for the bases, 2 cm (¾ in) wider in diameter than the base of your pie dishes.
  7. Line each pie dish with a round of shortcrust pastry and press it well into the corners of the base with your thumb. Trim off any excess and lightly brush the edges with the beaten egg. Lay out your sheet of puff pastry and cut 8 discs slightly larger than the diameter of the top of your pie dishes. Fill each pie generously with the filling and top each pie with a puff pastry lid. Press the edges of the pastry base and lid together to seal.
  8. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash, then pierce it a couple of times with a sharp knife or a fork, and sprinkle with the cumin seeds. Bake at 180°C (360°F) for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 160°C (320°F), before baking for a further 30–40 minutes, until the pies are nice and golden. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes before eating.
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