Just to clear up any confusion, globe artichokes are the big green spiky things and Jerusalem artichokes are the little knobbly things that look like potatoes. They have an unusual sweet flavour that is difficult to describe. Word of warning: they oxidise quickly, so you need to peel them and drop them into cold water mixed with the juice of half a lemon to prevent discoloration. Taking a few nice ingredients such as white wine and artichokes and dropping them into something as humble as a pie seems a little rebellious, but let’s do it anyway.
Try swapping the white wine for red wine and the thyme for rosemary, simple substitutions that give totally different results.
juice of ½ lemon
1.4kg Jerusalem artichokes (it may seem like a lot but you will lose some when peeling)
splash of sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and grated
400ml white wine, something quite dry, plus more if needed
small sprig of thyme
400g shop-bought puff pastry
plain flour, to dust
1 tsp cornflour (try to make sure it is a level teaspoon, this stuff thickens aggressively)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
whole milk, to brush
Have a bowl of water to hand with the lemon juice squeezed into it. Peel the artichokes; they are tricky, so be prepared for some fun. As you peel them, drop them straight into the water to prevent discoloration.
In a large saucepan, pour a touch of sunflower oil and place over a medium heat. Next add the onion, garlic and potato and fry until golden. The mixture may stick, especially the potato, so give it all a good scrape. This will give colour to the overall dish.
Next, tip all the fried vegetables into a bowl and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan to heat, then drain the artichokes and add to the hot oil, stirring over a high heat until golden on all sides.
Add the reserved vegetables, wine and sprig of thyme (this will infuse the vegetables with its flavour; you will lift it out later). Top up with cold water to cover and simmer very gently for 10–15 minutes or until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a knife.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Fish out the sprig of thyme and throw it away. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove all the vegetables, draining well. Share them between four individual pie dishes or your favourite bowls – ovenproof of course – or just spoon into one large pie dish.
Now, increase the heat under the remaining liquid (that’s why you removed the vegetables, or they would have fallen to pieces). Bubble the liquid to evaporate by half, to concentrate the colour and flavours.
Meanwhile, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop and cut out the pastry lids, making them slightly bigger than the pie dishes or dish to allow for shrinkage.
When the liquor has evaporated by half, reduce the heat, mix the cornflour with a little cold water so it is the consistency of single cream and carefully whisk the cornflour into the liquid. It will thicken quickly. Season and add a little more wine if it is too thick for your taste.
Pour a little of the sauce on to the vegetables, brush a little milk around the rim of the dish, place the pastry on top and press to seal the edges. Brush more milk on top of the pastry, then pierce a vent hole in the top. You can make shapes with pastry scraps to decorate the pies if you are feeling adventurous. If you are not, just put them in the oven and bake small pies for 10 minutes or a large pie for 35–45 minutes, or until the pastry is risen and golden.