Smoky Mushroom Stew with Barley


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


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This stew is dark, rich and almost meat-like, especially if you include shiitake in the mushroom mix. The mushrooms work exceptionally well with the barley, which has a slightly chewy texture and nutty taste.

PREPARATION: 15 minutes
COOKING: 30 minutes


  • 650 ml (22½ fl oz) porcini mushroom stock (vegetable stock is fine)
  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) pearled barley, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400 g (14 oz) mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, plus more for sprinkling
  • finely grated zest of ½ lemon, plus 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sweet Marsala
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes), plus extra if needed
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle paste
  • 1 pinch soft light brown sugar


In a large pan, bring the stock to the boil and add the barley. Cook for 20–25 minutes until tender, adding some water if the stock threatens to evaporate before the grains are cooked. By the end of cooking the stock should be completely absorbed and the grains tender but retaining some bite. Set aside to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a lidded pan and add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, parsley and the lemon zest. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the Marsala and let it bubble away for a minute or so as you stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the passata, chipotle paste and sugar. Cook over a low heat with the lid off until you have a rich dark stew, about 5 minutes. Add a little more tomato passata if too thick. Stir in the squeeze of lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper.

Spoon the barley into serving bowls, top with the mushroom stew and serve sprinkled with parsley.