I dragged this recipe out of my file cabinet for a fellow JAP chef, and I thought that I would post it. This is an English Fish Pie recipe that we used to make at a restaurant I worked at in Chicago that served a lot of “pub” food.
I won’t go so far as to use words, like traditional, or authentic; however, I do remember a lot of Brits stop and tell me that it was very similar to the fare that they got in the pubs over the Pond.
1Everyone has their own way of making mash potatoes; but the one thing we all have to do is boil the taters. So, get yourself a large pot, and put the golden yellow taters on the boil.
2Put 15 ounces of the milk into a small pan, and then bring up to a light simmer. Add the white fish, but not the smoked haddock.
3Chef's Note: The smoked haddock is already cooked, and ready to be flaked into the white fish, after it's poached.
4Add the onion, and the bay leaves, and keep on the simmer for about 8 minutes.
5After eight minutes, remove the fish, and then strain the poaching liquid into a bowl, and allow to cool, while you work on the rest of dish. Discard the solids.
6Chef's Note: I was looking over my old notes on this recipe, and I have a suggestion. Instead of buying skinless white fish, buy it with the skin on. Then after 8 minutes, remove the fish, and flake the meat off of the skin… return the skin to the poaching liquid and allow to simmer for an additional 8 minutes. Then discard the skin, and continue with the recipe.
7Flake the white fish, and the smoked haddock, and place into the bottom of a baking dish.
8Chef’s Note: I use a 10 x 7 baking dish, but that’s packing it pretty full, you might want to use something slightly larger.
9Slice the hard boiled eggs into quarters, and then arrange them on top of the fish.
10Chef's Note: I wasn't so sure about the eggs; however, a Brit one time told me the eggs were definetely a part of a "traditional" fish pie. However, if you're not a fan… leave them out.
11Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, and the flour into a small saucepan, and blend together over medium heat to make a blonde roux.
12I dated a blonde roux once… down in the Big Easy… Wonder what happened to her?
13Slowly add the cooled (but not cold) poaching liquid to the roux, and whisk until you have a smooth, thickened sauce.
Season with some salt, pepper, and the grated nutmeg.
14Pour the sauce over the fish in the baking dish.
15Remove the potatoes from the boiling water, and make mash potatoes… YUM.
My method is to keep them in the skins during the boil, and use a potato ricer with medium holes.
Add the remainder of the milk, and butter, and salt and pepper, to taste.
16Chef's Note: I don't like adding cold milk to mash potatoes, so I heat the milk, along with the butter, in a small sauce pan, and then add the hot liquid to the hot potatoes. In addition, I usually find I need a bit more milk than the recipe calls for.
17Top the fish pie with the mashed potatoes, and then sprinkle with the cheese.
18Place a rack in the middle position, and then preheat the oven to 400f (200c).
19Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown and bubbly.
20For a more formal (less rustic) approach to this dish, you might try baking it in individual ramekins. That's how we did it at the restaurant.
21Have fun with this dish, and even try other types of fish. For example, you could add some shrimp… But it you do, don't poach them with the fish… add them raw to the top of the dish, before adding the potatoes, and then bake. Or, how about the addition of some nice peas… I like peas with this dish.
Or, maybe go 50/50 with half golden yellow potatoes, and half sweet potatoes.