Friday, January 3, 2014

Recipe: A Classic Fish Pie

A warm comforting fish pie is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to feed a hungry family during these colder months. It's a recipe which is tasty, nourishing and best of all  it's possible to feed a family of four for under €12 using good quality ingredients. It's very easy to plan ahead too; if you want to make the fish pie mix the night before, place it in the fridge when the mixture is completely cooled and it will be ready to pop into the oven after a long day at work.

Sourcing fish direct from your local fishmonger is great value for money too and is the best place for the finest, freshest fish. A good fish mix with a selection of cod, paddock and salmon, coupled with a smokey selection of fish such as smoked haddock will give great results but only use about a third of smoked fish in the mix otherwise it will overwhelm the fish pie.

In this recipe, the fish is gently poached before adding in a simple béchamel sauce made using infused milk then thickened with a simple roux. It might sound like a bit of work but really it couldn't be simpler. What I like most about this recipe is that it has no artificial additives, preservatives or anything processed making it an ideal healthy meal. The final part of this recipe really finishes off this fish pie; it's the addition of two golden free range egg yolks into the potato mix leaving a really crisp, crunchy, golden brown topping.


Fish Pie Mix:

- 600g Fish Mix (eg: Cod, Salmon, Hake, Monkfish)
- 350g Smoked Haddock
- 2 Leeks (white part only, keep the green parts for vegetable stock)
- 125ml Glass White Wine (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp Chives or Dill (chopped)
- Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Béchamel Sauce:

- 900ml Glenisk Organic Milk
- 1 Medium Onion (Sliced)
- 1 Carrot (Sliced)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 5 Black Peppercorns
- A few Springs of Flat Leaf Parsley
- Roux: 65g Butter & 65g Plain Flour

Potato Topping:

- 1kg Potatoes
- 50g Butter
- 150ml Glenisk Cream
- 2 Free Range Egg Yolks (use the egg whites for a meringue)


1. Preheat your oven to 200°C /Gas Mark 6. Remove the pin bones from the fish and cut into small equal sized chunks (best to ask your fishmonger to do this for you). Bring the milk, carrot, onion, bay leaf, a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley and peppercorns to a fast boil before turning it down to simmer for a further 5mins. Take it off the heat and allow the vegetables to infuse for a further 10mins before straining through a sieve. Place the infused milk back on a high heat until it just reaches boiling point, add in the fish and turn down to a gentle heat for a further 10mins until the fish is gently poached. Using a slotted serving spoon, remove the fish from the pot and place in the pie dish.

2. While the fish is poaching, sweat the leaks by placing a dollop of butter in a pan and when it forms up add the leeks in with a little seasoning over a gentle heat for 5-8 mins until soft. Add in the white wine if using and allow it to reduce by half (add to the béchamel sauce later).

3. Boil the potatoes by bringing a large saucepan of water with a pinch of sea salt to a very fast boil. Scrub, wash and peal the potatoes cutting them into equal sizes and tip them into the boiling water and boil for about 12 - 15 mins until soft. Strain the potatoes, return to the pan adding in butter, the cream and mash well. Place the mashed potatoes through a ricer (if you own one) before mixing in the egg yolks with a wooden spoon.

4. While the potatoes are boiling make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter over a gentle heat, then add the flour and stir to a paste. Slowly whisk in the 600ml of infused milk and then stir with a wooden spoon until thickened. Add in the chopped herbs then the leaks and pour over the fish (if you think the sauce is too thick just add in a small bit more milk).

5. Spread the mash evenly over the fish mixture then shape the surface of the potato mixture with the tip of a folk and bake for 40mins. The fish pie is cooked when the surface is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling over the sides. Sometimes if I'm looking for a really comforting dish I sprinkle some cheese on top maybe some Parmesan, cheddar or Gruyère before baking for a really nice finish.

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Winter Warmer Recipes:

- Cream of Spinach, Rosemary & Blue Cheese Soup Recipe.
- Potato Gratin Recipe.
- Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe.

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Copyright & Food Styling Dermot O' Sullivan