This is bleedin’ comforting to eat. I made it first for my friend Michael a while ago. He doesn’t mince his words, and he used to be fat, so he’s a harsh critic. He loved it, so that’s good enough for me.
The jerusalem artichokes melt to give the stew a great velvety texture, and a lovely subtle sweet hum of earth.
For me, good stock (I use bouillon) is the key, as is some white wine for depth of flavour.
I find that my mother’s mix of suet and flour makes the most perfectly textured dumplings that go golden and crispy on top. When you cut these ones open, it feels like someone is bellowing clouds of thyme up your nose.
And yes, you’ll be noticing that I bladdy love soda bread.
Fry off some bacon and mushroom and sweat down carrot and onion with garlic.
Add a glass of white wine and cook until this has evaporated.
Add the diced chicken thighs and then pour in a lot of good stock.
Add the artichokes and put it in the oven.
Cover and cook for between 1.5 and 2 hours (depending on how much time you have) at about 160.
Mix (in the ratio of 1:3) suet and flour with a little water, salt, pepper and thyme to make dumplings.
Put these in about 45 minutes from the end.
About 30 mins from the end, I add puy lentils and cabbage/kale and remove the lid.