Kai time? Pie time

See your­self and the whā­nau through to spring with a cou­ple of pies that are a se­ri­ous step up from mince and cheese.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD WITH SAM MANNERING -

Iam an im­pa­tient sort of per­son who ex­pects spring by about mid Au­gust, so here are two steady­ing pies to see out the rest of win­ter with a bang. Us hu­mans love a good pie. There is a chicken pie recipe on a 4000-year-old Su­ma­tran tablet. In An­cient Egypt, even Rame­ses the Great fan­cied a pie just like any other mere mor­tal, ac­cord­ing to mu­rals on his tomb (in my mind I’m imag­in­ing a one-di­men­sional Pharoah park­ing the char­iot up at a Cal­tex to get a Mrs Mac’s). In me­dieval Eng­land they were orig­i­nally known as “coffyns”, a word that was once de­void of all mor­bid as­so­ci­a­tion and merely meant box or bas­ket. Make sure you use a good pas­try if you don’t make it your­self. Pane­ton is the brand to look out for.

MY FISH PIE

Prep time: 25 mins / Cook time: 50 mins Serves: 4-6

I’ve tried to model this off a fish pie I once had in Ed­in­burgh, which to this day is the best I’ve ever had. I only wish I could re­mem­ber the name of the restau­rant. Use what­ever fish you have ac­cess to – as long as it’s fresh. Usu­ally I’ll use monk­fish or skate, fresh mus­sels, some prawns, per­haps a bit of sal­mon. A bit of smoked fish such as ka­hawai or gem­fish is su­perb and will add a lovely depth of flavour. I like to add a bit of Pernod to the sauce as well, to give it a wee Gal­lic kick. This can be eas­ily pre­pared ahead of time, re­heats and also freezes very well.

TOP­PING

1kg Agria spuds

150-200ml milk

Salt and pep­per

1 egg

Large hand­ful of chives, finely chopped

BECHAMEL

500ml milk 50g but­ter 50g plain flour 3 tbsp white wine

About 850g mix of seafood (see my com­ments ear­lier) Large hand­ful of dill, finely chopped

Dash of Pernod, if you fancy

Beaten egg, to brush the top

Pre­heat the oven to 180C.

Wash, peel and cut the spuds into chunks, and boil in plenty of salted wa­ter un­til they are soft. Drain, cool a lit­tle and mash with the milk, a gen­er­ous amount of sea­son­ing, the egg and chives, un­til you are left with a thick, smooth, creamy mash. Set aside.

In the mean­time, make a bechamel sauce: bring the milk al­most to the boil in a small saucepan. In an­other saucepan over a moder­ate-low heat, melt the but­ter and add the flour. Us­ing a whisk, mix to a paste and con­tinue to cook for a fur­ther 3-4 min­utes be­fore grad­u­ally whisk­ing in the hot milk and the wine, un­til you are left with a thick white sauce. Add the Pernod, if you wish.

In a ce­ramic dish or deep pan, com­bine the bechamel with the seafood and chopped dill, and spread the mashed spud evenly over the sur­face. Brush the top with beaten egg and pop into the oven to bake for about 35-40 min­utes, un­til the sur­face of the pie is a crisp golden brown. Al­low to cool a lit­tle be­fore serv­ing.

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