BBC Countryfile Magazine




3 medium eggs

A knob of butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large or 2 slim celery sticks, chopped

1 small parsnip, or a wedge of celeriac, peeled and chopped (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper

100ml dry white wine

20g fine plain wholemeal flour

400ml hot fish or vegetable stock

300g sustainabl­y caught haddock, cod or pollack fillets

300g sustainabl­y caught smoked haddock, cod or pollack fillets

100g sustainabl­y sourced, peeled cold-water prawns

150g frozen peas, defrosted

2–3 tbsp chopped parsley


750g floury potatoes, such as King Edward, scrubbed but not peeled

400g tin butter beans, drained

100ml warm milk

50g butter

Fish pie has long been one of my favourite comfort foods and this silky-sauced example is based on my mum’s recipe, so it is full of happy, homey memories. These days I make it with stock rather than béchamel, so it’s full flavoured without being too creamy. I have topped the pie with a skin-on spud and butter bean mash.


1 For the topping, cut the potatoes into large chunks (no smaller than an egg), place in a large pan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes until completely tender. Drain and return to the hot pan. Add the butter beans, warm milk, butter and some salt and pepper. Stir together with a wooden spoon then use a potato masher to bash the mix into a coarse, chunky mash.

2 While the potatoes are cooking, boil the eggs: lower them into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 7 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water in the pan to cool. Crack the shells and set aside.

3 Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and parsnip or celeriac if using, with a pinch of salt and pepper. When sizzling, lower the heat. Let the veg sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.

4 Add the wine to the veg and let it bubble, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the hot stock, and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for a couple of minutes, stirring occasional­ly, until the sauce is silky and smooth. Take off the heat, taste and add a little more salt and pepper if needed.

Set aside.

5 Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Slice the fresh and smoked fish fillets off the skin, removing any bones. Cut the fish into 3cm chunks. Stir the fish, prawns, peas and parsley into the saucy veg and transfer to an oven dish. Peel and quarter the boiled eggs and press these into the fish mixture.

6 Spoon the beany mash on top and spread out to cover the filling, keeping it nubbly. Bake for about 30 minutes until the mash is golden and the filling is bubbling up around the edges. Serve as it is, or with greens such as kale, cabbage or spinach.

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