As the weather has suddenly dropped (there’s snow up north!) I thought I would post this winter warmer pie recipe which I created for Borough Market‘s award-winning Market Life Magazine, where I have a seasonal recipe column. A few people have already made it and shared their successes with me on Instagram, which I LOVE, so I thought I’d share it with you guys in time for the weekend. It’s really creamy and warming, laced with flavours smoked bacon, silky mushrooms and mellow leeks, but mostly of course, the very special flavour of Jerusalem Artichoke, or ‘Jezchoke’, as I like to call it. I really hope some of you will give it a go. I’ve used shop bought puff pastry for ease, but it would be nice with your favourite homemade savoury pastry too.
Of all the winter ingredients, Jerusalem artichokes are the one I look forward to the most. The knobbly little tubers resemble the ginger root more than their artichoke namesakes, and are in fact the root of a species of sunflower. Also known as “sunchoke” in north America, they might not look like much, but have the most fabulous, unusual flavour that, to me, make the infamous flatulent after-effects worth putting up with. Sweet, earthy and incredibly nutty, I feel they are one of the most exciting luxuries of the winter larder, and while I love them roasted, skin-on, to crispy caramelised lusciousness with rare roast beef, this recipe makes them the centrepiece and uses their flavour to lace a savoury pie befitting of any special dinner or Sunday lunch. This is a vegetable-forward, rather than vegetarian recipe, but it can be easily adapted to vegetarian by removing the smoked bacon and substituting the parmesan with veggie cheese and chicken stock with veg stock. Make it and watch your loved ones melt.
Jerusalem artichoke pie
1 white onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped into 4cm lengths
3 rashers of smoked bacon, sliced
500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled
100g chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of plain flour
1 tbsp butter or chicken fat
2 sprigs of thyme
300ml chicken stock
100ml white wine
15ml double cream
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 sheet of shop bought puff pastry
1 egg, whisked
Preheat the oven to 170 fan. Begin by gently par-boiling the Jerusalem artichokes in the chicken stock for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow them to sit in the stock while you make the rest of the pie filling. Heat a tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat, add the bay leaf, onion and a pinch of salt and cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and aromatic.
Add the leek and cook, stirring, for three more minutes then add the bacon, thyme and mushrooms and cook for five more minutes, until the bacon is cooked. Season with black pepper and add the wine, reducing it by a third. Strain the artichokes from the stock and add the stock and cream to the pan, reducing a little more.
While that’s simmering, make a roux by smushing the butter and flour together into a paste, and add this to the sauce, cooking it out and stirring to remove lumps, until the sauce is thickened slightly and glossy – it should be the consistency of double cream.
Add the Jerusalem artichokes and Parmesan to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes. Fill a pie dish with the filling, placing a pie bird in the middle if you have one, and allow the filling to cool for ten minutes or so.
Take the pastry from the fridge, unroll it and cut out a circle that’s slightly bigger than the circumference of the pie dish. Make a cut in the middle for the pie bird to peak through to release steam, and cover the dish with the pastry. Press the edges against the edge of the dish and cut away the excess. I use a fork to crimp around the edges, and excess pastry to make decorative leaves. Egg wash the pastry and bake for 35-40 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve with steamed cavalo nero and mashed potato.
*All photos Copyright Helen Cathcart*