Monday, February 8, 2016

Yogurt Flatbreads with Barley and Mushrooms

I know that the title of this post has a lot of words that may not sound like they go together.  For example, what on earth is a yogurt flatbread?  And how can it go with mushrooms and barley?  If that's what you're thinking, never fear.  You aren't the only one.  Here is the conversation that I had with Jesse about this meal:

I wasn't joking about the LOL, too.  How sad is that sad face about "yogurt bread?"

But I promise, this dinner sounds a lot weirder than it is.  For example, the yogurt flatbreads are kind of like a pan-fried version of naan, made from whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, baking powder and fresh cilantro.  See?  Not so weird anymore, right?

Then there's the mushroom barley ragout that gets served over the top.  It's incredible.  Three different kinds of mushrooms (porcini, shiitake, and button) simmered with pearl barley, fresh thyme, garlic, and white wine, finished with fresh parsley and lemon juice.  It creates this super delicious, thick, hearty ragout that I would eat with or without flatbreads.

And yet, the flatbreads are a great addition.  They are rustic but flavorful, and complement the smooth mushroom barley ragout perfectly.  In the end, there were no sad faces.  Jesse and I both really liked it.  I think we were both relieved!  Lesson to be learned: don't judge a meal by its name.


yogurt flatbreads with barley and mushrooms
from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a main dish

for flatbreads:
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons clarified butter (or a mixture of melted butter and vegetable oil)
for mushroom ragout:
1/2 cup pearl barley
3/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3/4 cup lukewarm water
4 cups mixed shiitake and button mushrooms, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter
2 thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup white wine
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, plus extra to garnish
1/2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon (I skipped this)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt


1) To make the flatbreads, combine all the ingredients, apart from the butter, in a bowl, using your hands to mix them together into a dry dough.  Add more flour if needed.  Knead the dough for a minute or until it is smooth and uniform.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

2) To make the mushroom ragout, rinse the barley with cold water, then place in a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh water.  Simmer for 30 - 35 minutes or until al dente.

3) Place the porcini in a bowl and cover with lukewarm water; set aside.  Put the fresh mushrooms in a heavy pan with the oil over medium-high heat.  Add half the butter and the thyme, and saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the mushrooms have softened, add the garlic and wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Next, add the porcini and their soaking liquid - but be very careful to leave any grit in the bowl (I recommend swishing them around a bit before adding them).  Add some salt and pepper.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes.  Finally, stir in the remaining butter, parsley, preserved lemon, lemon juice, and cooked barley.  Add more water if the sauce is too thick and taste for seasoning.  Set aside and reheat before serving.

5) When ready to make the flatbreads, divide your dough into 6 pieces.  Roll into balls, then flatten them with a rolling pin into round discs about 1 inch thick.  Heat some clarified butter in a nonstick pan and fry the flatbreads one at a time on medium heat for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Add more butter as needed and keep the flatbreads warm after they are cooked.

6) To serve, fold each warm flatbread in half or in quarters and top with warm ragout, a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkle of parsley.  I just left mine flat and topped them like that!

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