9 March 2012

Fish Pie Friday...

...did you know this week is British Pie Week?...until March 12th in fact...so in honour of this special week we are having fish pie for our dinner tonight...
This recipe is just known as 'fish pie' in our house...no fancy name, no fancy ingredients (two fussy smallish people remember!)...just good old home cooked fish pie...the recipe is mine and mine alone!! I probably got it from a myriad of different fish pie recipes that have been 'tweaked' and adjusted over the years to suit all our tastes!! I seem to recall smoked haddock and salmon making an appearance pre-smallish people...but times change and so do recipes...
...the one I use at the moment is this...

*white fish fillets - enough to feed your lot - in  my case today it was 4 cod fillets
*milk - enough to cover the fish when in pan poaching
*flat leaf parsley
*english mustard
*handful of grated cheese
*salt and pepper
plain flour - about 1 1/2 Tbsp
*some cooked peeled prawns
*mashed potato for the topping


 This one serves about 3 adults and 2 smaller people.
There's a bit of prep for this one...it really is better to get all the components made/cooked and gathered together to cool before assembling the pie.

So to start with you need to poach the fish...You need to put the fish fillets in a large pan and cover with the milk - or just about cover...bring to boil and turn down low for about 5 minutes...take off heat and...





...strain the fish carefully, making sure you catch all that lovely, fishy poaching liquid...

 Now to make the sauce, we like a parsley/cheese sauce...so I make a roux using about 35g butter (melted) and adding 1 1/2 Tbsp flour to that...let it cook out for a minute or so before very slowly adding the poaching milk...a bit at a time, whisking well to avoid lumps! Bring it up to the boil, stirring all the time, then let it simmer on the lowest heat for a couple of minutes to thicken up fully...you may need to add a bit more milk...It takes about 3/4 pint or about 400ml...
 Then add some finely chopped flat leaf parsley and mix...
I always add about a teaspoon of english mustard to my sauce, it gives it a bit of oomph in the flavour stakes!
We also like a bit of grated cheddar added...another bit of oomph!!! Mix it all in, turn the heat off and leave until cool.
 You may find the sauce seems to thicken a lot more when cool, but don't panic, once in the oven and warm, it will be much more 'sauce like'.


You will need to make your mashed potato now too, so that it is also cooling down...
So now we have all the components together, and cooling down before we put it all together...I find it easier when everything is cool, as the whole pie has much more stability to it, the potato can be spread or piped over the sauce much easier when the sauce is firmer...
So now we just have to mix it, but be gentle, you don't want to completely mash the fish...you are aiming for flakes of fish in the sauce, so gently fold the fish and prawns into the sauce, place in your chosen pie dish, smooth over, and add potato...As us bigger people are eating at a different time to the two smallish ones, I've made separate pies today...and gone even further by making individual pies for smaller folk as female one doesn't 'do' prawns!! The foil dishes are a godsend, as no washing up needed...unless you're thrifty like me and re-use...in which case the dishwasher (no, not hubby...we've actually got a dishwasher!!) does a great job!
I got a bit creative with the potato today (maybe a bit too much time on my hands?!?)...and piped patterns and rosettes... 















Now it's just a case of baking them in the oven...I do mine at about gas 6/200c for about 25-30 minutes...or until the top is nice and golden.

The smaller people like carrots with theirs..












look at that lovely and golden potato topping fresh from the oven...looks good enough to eat :-)
 Which of course is exactly what we did...with some steamed courgettes and fine beans...
There was even leftovers...

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