Fish Pie - Recipe variations and overview.

Fish Pie
There is no doubt that fish pie is a much-loved dish and a great comfort food for many. Giving a portion of fish pie to your children when they are young is an excellent way of introducing them to eating fish, especially as the fish is hidden in a delicious creamy sauce and sits under either a browned pastry or crispy potato topping.

There are many variations on fish pie. In a simple recipe for fish pie, cod and haddock are generally used. Other recipes call for any white fish fillet, whilst more elaborate recipes ask for salmon, prawns and vegetables such as leeks or mushrooms.
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The fish is poached in milk, flaked into pieces and placed in the bottom of a pie dish. The pieces are then covered with a white sauce and topped with a crust.

In most recipes for fish pie, the topping consists of a layer of creamy mashed potato, sprinkled with cheese. However, some recipes use shortcrust or puff pastry and others use a layer of sliced potatoes.

Below we offer you two fish pie recipes plus variations that range from simple to more detailed:

Basic fish pie recipe

Ingredients
  • 450g (1lb) of cod fillet or other white fish
  • 1kg (2¼lb) of potatoes
  • 150ml (¼ pint) of milk
  • 55g (2oz) of grated cheese
  • 40g (1½oz) of butter
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Poach the fish in milk and water for 5 - 8 minutes and reserve 150ml (¼ pint) of the poaching liquid. Roll the fillets of fish or wrap in clingfilm so that they keep their shape. Remove from the heat and flake the fish.
  2. Boil the potatoes until they are soft. Drain and mash with a knob of butter and a splash of milk. Season to taste.
  3. In a separate saucepan melt the remaining butter.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Very slowly pour in the poaching liquid from the fish and the milk. Bring to the boil.
  6. Stir continuously until the sauce has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Add the flaked fish together with the parsley. Stir and season to your taste.
  8. Pour into an ovenproof pie dish.
  9. Top with the mashed potato.
  10. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
  11. Place into a preheated oven at a temperature of 200°C (400°F) and bake for 30 minutes.
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Fish pie recipe

You can use any type of white fish fillets for this fish pie which are poached together with fillets of haddock. They are flaked and arranged in the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Hard-boiled eggs are sliced and placed on top, together with plenty of freshly chopped parsley. A white sauce covers the fish and the dish is completed with a topping of mashed potato and grated Cheddar cheese.

Ingredients
  • 1kg (2¼lb) of potatoes
  • 600ml (1 pint) of milk
  • 450g (1lb) of skinless white fish fillet
  • 450g (1lb) of skinless smoked haddock fillet
  • 115g (4oz) of butter
  • 55g (2oz) of flour
  • 55g (2oz) of grated Cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Pour 500ml (18fl oz) of the milk into a saucepan.
  2. Cut the onion into four and stud each quarter with a clove. Add to the milk with the bay leaves.
  3. Add the fish and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the fish from the pan and flake into pieces. Arrange on the bottom of a large pie dish. Reserve the poaching milk.
  6. Hard-boil the eggs. Drain, rinse under water to cool. Peel and cut into slices. Arrange over the top of the fish.
  7. Sprinkle the parsley over the top of the fish and eggs.
  8. Melt half of the butter in a separate pan.
  9. Add the flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Slowly add the poaching milk and stir until a sauce mixture is produced.
  11. Continue to add all of the milk and stir.
  12. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  13. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  14. Pour the sauce over the fish.
  15. Boil the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water, drain and mash with the remainder of the milk and butter. Season.
  16. Top the fish mixture with the mash and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  17. Bake in a preheated oven set at 200°C (400°F) for 30 minutes.
Variations on the above fish pie recipe include:
  • Add 200g (7oz) of fresh, peeled king prawns to the ovenproof dish at step 5 alongside the poached white fish.
  • Add 115g (4oz) of frozen peas and 115g (4oz) of frozen sweetcorn at step 6.
  • Instead of smoked haddock use skinless salmon fillets and substitute the parsley for dill.
  • Add 225g (8oz) of chopped leeks and 115g (4oz) of sliced mushrooms at step 5. The leeks and mushrooms should be gently fried in a little olive oil beforehand.
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