Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Oh My It's Fish Pie

Yes, that’s right I am going to be sharing a recipe with you for something called fish pie.  But first I want to bounce an idea off of you.
I kind of want to test out a ton of cookie recipes for the upcoming holiday season.  Does that seem like something you all would be interested in?  I keep coming across recipes that seem like they would be wonderful, and so I stow them away only to choose 5 or 6 between all of them to actually bake.  I will typically spend an entire weekend baking cookies and then I hand them out to neighbors and family.
However, this method tends to lead to madness as most of the cookie recipes are new to me and can inspire foul language and flying objects if things don’t turn out exactly as I pictured them.  But, if I make many cookies leading up to Christmas, I can pawn them off on unsuspecting people and whittle down my choices through a well-documented pseudo-scientific method. (Although I will most likely just make a lot of cookies and still choose 5 or 6 new recipes that turn me into a hyperventilating monster a few weekends before Christmas.)  So, cookies? Cool?  It’s decided then.
Now, on to that fish pie.  This one of the many recipes I took away from working in the Scottish Kitchen at the Folk Life Festival.  It was the first recipe I successfully made on my own after learning it, and it is the only one I specifically asked one of the cooks to share with me. 
It sounds kind of gross, and it doesn’t look super appetizing, but I promise you – it’s good.  I like to use this with leftover cooked fish, but you could always cook your white sauce a bit longer with the fish in it to cook the fish. I have taken the liberty here to dress up the pie a bit, but feel free to pare it back and keep it very simple. Oh and when you do make this, the lighter your mashed potatoes are, the better they will sit on top and spread out over the pie.

Joyce McRaye’s Fish Pie
 Any white fleshed fished can be used here (and I have even seen recipes which call for salmon) such as flounder, haddock or cod. Also feel free to omit the crust; the pie will work just as well without it.

For the Crust
1 c flour
5 Tb cold butter, cut into small cubes
1-3 Tb cold water

For the Pie
1 large shallot, chopped
2 Tbs. Butter
¼ tsp. Thyme
¼ c. flour
1 c. milk
½ lb. cooked white fish, shredded
½ c. frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Topping
4-5 medium red skinned potatoes, cut into 1-2” chunks
1 garlic clove, whole
1 Tb. Butter
¼ c. milk or cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the crust: cut the butter into the flour until it is course looking, and then slowly add water a teaspoon or two at a time, until the dough comes together. (This can be done in a food processor).

Shape dough into a ball, flatten it to a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the mashed potatoes for the topping.  Boil cubed potatoes with the whole garlic clove in salted water for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.  Drain the potatoes and mash with the butter and milk until well combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste. (Or you can use your favorite mashed potato recipe for this.)

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Roll out the dough and place it into 9 or 10” pie plate.  Prick the crust with a fork and pre-bake it for about 10 minutes. 

While the crust is baking, sauté shallot and thyme in butter over medium heat in a large pan for about 5 minutes.  Next, add the flour and stir constantly until the flour and butter have thickened and are smooth.  Slowly add in milk, whisking to avoid lumps.  Once all of the milk has been added, the mixture should be thick but not too stiff, if it is, add a bit more milk.  If the mixture is too watery, let it simmer for a few minutes on the stove.  Add in the cooked fish and peas, stirring to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour filling into pre-baked crust and top with mashed potatoes.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are golden and the crust is browned.  Cool for 15 minutes and serve.

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