Monday, 2 June 2014

Easy Midweek Dinner: Fancy Fish Pie

A few weeks ago, while shopping, I found these bargains in the reduced section of the supermarket:

I had no plans for them at the time, just stashed them in the freezer. This morning, in an effort to be organised for tonight's tea, I decided to turn them into a fish pie. Good old comfort food! (And Gluten Free, of course!)

I did my usual thing, which is google a couple of recipes for the general idea and quantities, and then made it up as I went along. Ingredients wise, I pretty much went with what was in my fridge and freezer.

First off I peeled a white onion into thick slices, and put it in a pan with a couple of bay leaves and the fish (440g skinless & boneless haddock and 325g salmon, but use whatever fish you happen to have, or find in the reduced section!)

I poured over 500ml milk, added salt and pepper and brought the lot to a gentle boil. I simmered gently for a few minutes and then turned the heat off and left it, with the lid on, to cool. You don't need to worry about the fish not being cooked enough. It will be, and anyway, it's going in the oven again later too!

In the meanwhile, I roughly chopped some potatoes (about 800g) and put them on to boil, for the mash topping. I had red skinned potatoes to hand, so used those. I don't usually peel potatoes for mash. Just give them a wash and cut off any dodgy bits.

After the fish has cooled and infused for at least 20 minutes, drain it, so that you collect the liquid in a jug. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

Now you can transfer the fish to your casserole dish, breaking it into fairly large pieces and checking for bones. I removed the skin from the salmon at this point too. The haddock was already skinless. Some recipes told me to discard the onion, but I chopped it up and added it to the fish. I also scattered over a couple of handfuls of frozen peas. You could use sweetcorn, or any other frozen veg.

Next, in a clean pan, I stirred together 40g butter and 40g (gluten free) flour. I put the pan on a gentle heat, beating the mix until it formed a smooth paste. Now add the reserved milk from boiling the fish. Add it bit by bit, whisking or stirring to combine it with the flour and butter paste, before adding the next bit. Once all the milk is combined, bring to a gentle boil, constantly stirring, and then take off the heat. The sauce should be nice and thick.

Pour the sauce over the fish and veg mixture. I found a little pack of crayfish tails in the freezer and decided to add those too (hence the fancy fish pie) but you could use prawns, or leave it out all together. A bit of pepper, a scrape of nutmeg if you like it, and give the lot a very gentle stir. You want to mix it all together, but without breaking the fish up too much.

Mash your potatoes however you like to do it. I used a nob of butter, a splash of milk, and half a tub of cream cheese that was lurking in the fridge.

Spoon the mash all over the top of your pie, and scatter with some grated cheese. Previously, I'd have scattered some breadcrumbs over the top, before the cheese, so the top went nice and crispy.

That's it. If, like me, you're getting this done while the kids are eating breakfast, you can put the pie in the fridge, to cook later. Either way, when it's time to eat, preheat the oven to 200c/Gas 6. Take your pie out of the fridge to come up to room temperature, or you risk cracking your casserole dish (learnt that one the hard way - RIP beautiful, heart-shaped LeCreuset casserole) and then cook for 25 minutes, until the top is brown and you can see bubbling bits of fish sauce at the sides.

Yum yum. Add some veg, a nice salad, or some crusty bread (snif!) and tuck in!

The pie was delicious. Polished off without fuss by both of the kids, and even the salmon-hating husband enjoyed it. The crayfish tails gave it a really lovely flavour, and they weren't an expensive addition. I found them in little packs in Aldi.

Servings wise, there was definitely enough for six hungry adults. Possibly more with bread and veg. Less than half served our family of four plentifully, with just the addition of broccoli and peas.




For the filling:

Roughly 800g mixed fish

500ml milk

1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced

2 bay leaves

40g butter

40g flour

150g frozen peas

150g crayfish tails or prawns (optional)


For the topping:

800g potatoes

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp milk

100g cream cheese

30g grated cheese


Special Diets:

If you need to be gluten free, like me, just use gluten free flour. If you're on Slimming World or just watching the calories, you can use skimmed milk and omit the butter, milk and cheese from the mash. You could use quark or fat free yoghurt in the mash if you like, to make it creamier.


Let me know if you try it. I'd love to hear what you thought, and see a pic of yours!