Kitchen Witch Wednesday – The Fish Pie

Fish Pie, with peas Home made with un-bleached...

Fish Pie, with peas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pies are a wonderful way to stretch out a skimpy food budget, or use up leftovers. When I moved to the UK, I was introduced to a wide range of savoury pies but I think my favourite would have to be a Fish Pie.

And when it comes to fish pies, the best recipe I have found comes from a cookbook compiled by Anthony Worrall Thompson.

Feel free to tweak it, use different types of fish, omit an ingredient or substitute another. I never follow a recipe the same way twice, and neither should you.

AWT’s Ultimate Fish Pie

Ingredients:

450 ml Milk
1 x Bay leaf
Few black peppercorns
1 sm Onion, roughly chopped
1 kg White fish fillets, such as cod, coley, pollack or ling (catfish would work well for those without ready access to seafood – I like to use a mixture of cod and undyed smoked haddock)
175 gm Cooked peeled large prawns
4 tbl Chopped fresh herbs, (parsley, chives, chervil, or tarragon)
100 gm Unsalted butter
2 lrg Shallots, finely chopped
175 gm Button mushrooms, sliced
50 gm Plain flour (I use Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour)
150 ml Double cream (thick whipping cream)
1/4 x Lemon, pips removed
1 kg Potatoes, cut into chunks
2 tbl Wholegrain mustard
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

1 Place the milk in a sauté pan with the bay leaf, peppercorns and onion. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

2 Set aside for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Add the fish to the infused milk and poach for 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then lift out the fish and roughly flake the flesh, discarding any skin and bone.

3 Place in a large bowl with the prawns and herbs. Strain the poaching milk into a jug. Melt half the butter in a pan and fry the shallots for 5 minutes to soften.

4 Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until tender, then stir in the flour and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and gradually add the poaching milk. Season, return to the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Keep stirring until thickened.

5 Stir in half of the cream and add a good squeeze of lemon, then fold into the fish mixture and season. Pour into a buttered 25cm/10in pie dish and set aside to allow a skin to form.

6 Place the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until very tender. Drain, return to the pan to dry out and then mash until smooth.

7 Beat in the remaining butter and cream and the mustard. Season to taste. Carefully spread over the fish mixture and pull a fork across the top to make a wavy-line pattern. Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling and lightly golden. Serve hot with a big spoonful of peas.

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