The soft smell of pastry baking. The gentle scent on a cold night of hot chips and vinegar. Baked puddings and lashings of custard. Cue the start of winter and the onslaught of comfort food.
Pies, puddings, stews and anything else that goes well with mashed potatoes seem to dominate the menu from October to March.
But comfort food seldom lives up to expectations. The meat’s always a bit dry, the gravy a bit lacklustre and fish and chips never as good as they smell.
Except for the exception to the rule. One pie that’s rich and fulfilling. That doesn’t have a dry filling, or soggy pastry. Something that can been eaten in front of a fire, even on a summer’s day with a glass of crisp white wine and garnished with small fresh peas that pop sweetness into your mouth on every bite. Fish pie.
Finding a fish pie recipe was a tricky quest. What fish? Do you mash the potatoes or place them on the top in quarters?
So here’s my recipe is derived from a couple of so
urces and based around what you can get in the supermarket. Whether you are cooking for friends, looking for something different to eat on a Wednesday or just need to be comforted by something rich, this recipe should tick all the boxes. It’s a failsafe way to people’s heart and will make you seem like an excellent cook.
Fish Pie (I use a 22cm Falcon enamel pie dish)
Ingredients1kg floury potatoes (Maris Piper are best but any white potatoes will do)100g buttersplash of milk50g plain flour500ml Fish Stock (stock cubes are fine)100ml white wine (any works)1 packet of Salmon (approx. 250g)1 packet of white fish – I use cod (approx. 250g)1 packet of smoked fish – I use haddock (approx. 250g)1 packet of cooked king prawns200ml double cream
- Preheat your oven 200c/180c fan. Cut your potatoes into similar sized chunks and put in a large pan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until tender. Usually around 20 minutes.
- Whilst that is cooking cut the fish into 1 inch chunks. Put the fish stock and wine into a medium sized pan and bring to a simmer. Add the fish (but not the prawns) and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Once cooked lift the fish out into your dish using a slotted spoon.
- Once the potatoes are ready, drain and put back into the pan. Cover with a clean tea towel and a lid and leave to rest.
- Melt half of the butter in a medium sized pan on a medium to low heat. Stir in the flour and cook the batter mixture whilst continuously stirring. Do not let it go brown. Gradually stir in the fish stock. You want to create a silky looking sauce that will cover the back of your wooden spoon and will be firm enough to take the wait of your mashed potato.
- Take the sauce of the heat and add the double cream and the cooked prawns. Pour over fish in the dish and make sure it is all covered.
- Uncover your mash and add the other half of the butter, milk, salt and pepper. Mash until smooth.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Enjoy with vegetables of your choice.
Photograph: Good Housekeeping