Traditional Fish Pie

Following on from the Store Cupboard Fish Pie which was very basic, here is a much better and a more traditional Fish Pie with a lot more taste to it. A creamy fish sauce topped with egg, mashed potato and cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lb White Boneless Fish such as Cod, rinsed
  • 900g/2lb Potatoes, peeled
  • 500ml/20 fl oz Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Plain/All purpose Flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp Butter or Olive Spread
  • 375g/12oz grated strong white Cheese
  • 1 large Brown Onion peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 100g/4oz Mushrooms sliced finely
  • 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 3 cloves of Garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • (Optional> 3 hardboiled eggs
  • (Optional) 1 tsp Paprika

Method

  1. Cut the potatoes into chunks then add to a pan and cover with water. If using the eggs then add them into the pan too. Add salt if desired then bring to the boil. The eggs will cook faster than the potato so they need to be removed after 9-10 minutes and cooled so they do not overcook.
  2. Once cooked, mash the potato to your preferred consistency. A very rough mashing with just a fork so that some pieces of potato remain tastes good. A smoother mash may be more to your preference. Either way, add a tablespoon of butter and a little milk then mix in well.
  3. Put the fish fillets into a pan and cover with milk. Gently bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the fish starts to crumble a little. It takes 5-10 minutes depending on the fish fillets.
  4. Carefully drain the milk into a jug and set to one side. Put the fish into a bowl and coarsely mash with a fork.
  5. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan and then add in the onion. Fry for a few minutes until it is beginning to soften then add the mushrooms, garlic, mustard powder and nutmeg. Let them continue to fry for a few moments more then add in the flour and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes so that the flour begins to brown.
  6. Begin adding the milk that was used to poach the fish. Add a tablespoon at a time and stir each one constantly until it is absorbed. Care is needed because it is very easy to end up with a sauce that is full of flour lumps. As it thins out, the milk can be added faster but the first that goes in is key to avoiding a lumpy sauce.
  7. Once all the milk from poaching the fish has been used up then add fresh milk to thin the sauce a little. It should end up a little on the runny side when finished because it will thicken with the cheese and fish. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes then remove from the heat.
  8. Add ⅔ of the grated cheese to the sauce and stir until it has melted. Mix in the fish and the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste then pour into a large oven-proof dish.
  9. If using the hard boiled eggs then shell and slice. Layer over the sauce mixture.
  10. Spoon the mashed potato over the mixture then top with the rest of the grated cheese. Optionally sprinkle over a teaspoon of paprika for added colour and flavour.
  11. Cook for 30-40 minutes in an oven that has been pre-heated to around 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. The cheese should be nicely browned and bubbling when it is all done.
  12. Serve with your choice of vegetables or with a salad.

It may look tricky but many of the steps can be done together so it will not take as long to make as it might sound from the method. The result is a delicious fish pie as the centre of the meal

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