Squash, Barley & Spinach pie

Layered Squash, Barley & Spinach Pie

“Adapted from the BBC Good Food Guide.”


For the filling:

1 small butternut squash (about 1kg), peeled and cubed

3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for brushing

3 onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

100g mushrooms, sliced

85g whole cooked chestnuts, quartered

100g Pearl barley

1.2l vegetable stock

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

Zest 1 lemon

250g Ricotta cheese

200g soft Cheese

20g pack sage leaves, chopped

400g of baby spinach

20g pack parsley leaves, chopped

For the Pastry:

700g Plain flour

140g of butter

85g white vegetable shortening

100ml milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

A few bay leaves

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and roast the butternut squash with 1 tbsp oil for 25-30 minutes until tender, then set aside

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large pan and cook the onions and garlic for 10 minutes until soft

Remove two-thirds; then add the mushrooms, chestnuts and pearl barley to the pan

Sizzle for a few minutes, pour in the stock then bring to the boil.

Bubble fiercely for 30 minutes until the barley is tender and sticky and there is no liquid left

Stir in the soy sauce, season and set aside.

While the barley layer is cooking, make the other layers

Stir the zest, ricotta, soft cheese and a good amount of seasoning into the reserved onions until smooth

Take a third of the mixture and gently fold with the sage and roasted squash

For the final layer, boil the kettle then tip half the spinach into a large colander

Pour over the boiling water to wilt then repeat with the rest of the spinach

Tip the spinach onto a clean tea towel and squeeze out all the moisture you can

Roughly chop then mix into the remaining ricotta mixture with the parsley

To make the pie; brush a 900g loaf tin with a little oil

Make 3 long triple-layer strips of foil and lay these across the width of the tin to help you lift out the pie to serve

Tip flour and 3 tsp salt into the largest bowl you have and gently melt the butter, shortening and milk with 200ml water in a pan

Once melted, increase heat until bubbling fiercely, tip onto the flour then quickly beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Don’t worry if some powdery bits remain

Once cool enough to handle, knead until it comes together, then tip onto your work surface

Set aside a third and roll the rest into a large rectangle – big enough to line the tin with a little overhanging

Ease into the tin, pressing evenly into the corners and sides – you can be rough with it

Spoon in the spinach layer; smooth the surface, then repeat with the barley and finally the squash layer

Dome the squash mix slightly to give a rounded top

Roll out the remaining pastry to fit, brush the edges with some egg then press the lid over the top

Trim the excess and crimp or pinch to seal then decorate with pastry trimmings cut into leaves (add bay leaves, if using, when the pie has 30 minutes left in the oven) Can be covered and chilled overnight

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and put a large baking sheet inside Brush the surface of the pie with egg, lift onto the heated baking tray and bake for 30 minutes

Then reduce the heat to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and bake for a further 1 hr 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and feels hard

Stand for 15-20 minutes while you get the rest of the meal ready – the pie will stay warm.

Gently tip out the pie, or use the foil strips to lift out carefully

Carry to the table and slice thickly to serve

11 Dec, 2011

6 thoughts on “Squash, Barley & Spinach pie

  1. It certainly is a long recipe, but not too complicated.

    I quite fancied having a go until my daughter told me she didn’t like half the ingredients – she wasn’t as polite as that!

    Anyway I still might make it and see how it goes.

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