Meal Type: Main Course
Cook time: 70 minutes
A traditional fish pie is such a comforting dish, popular with all ages. It is a great dish to make in advance and freeze – ready for those busy days when time is scarce but you still want to eat well. There is no need to poach the fish first but it is worth taking the time to infuse the milk if possible. Use any combination of fish – some smoked fish adds a lovely flavour and a handful of prawns is always a welcome addition too!
- Ovenproof saucepan
- Ovenproof dish (approx. 2.5 litre capacity)
Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the bay leaves and onion halves. Heat gently on the simmering plate until almost simmering. Remove from heat and set on back of your Aga range cooker to infuse for half an hour or longer.
Peel the potatoes, chop into even-sized pieces and bring to the boil on the boiling plate in a large pan of salted water. Boil for a couple of minutes, pour off all the water, cover with a lid and transfer to the floor of the simmering oven to steam for 30 minutes.
If using, steam the leeks on the boiling plate and set aside.
Make the sauce: melt the butter in a large pan on the simmering plate, add the flour and stir until you have a smooth paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove the onion and bay leaves from the milk and add a little at a time, stirring thoroughly after each addition, until you get a smooth sauce. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
Add the fish and steamed leeks (if using) to the sauce and stir gently. The fish will start to cook in the hot sauce but does not need to cook fully. Tip into a large, buttered ovenproof dish and set aside to cool slightly.
Remove the potatoes from the simmering oven and check they are tender. Mash thoroughly with the butter and enough milk to make a smooth ‘spreadable’ mash. Season to taste.
Spoon the potato on top and spread to the edges so that it covers the filling. Fluff up with a fork and sprinkle with the cheese. Place the pie on a baking tray and bake on the bottom runners of the roasting oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling bubbling.
Aga range cooker tips:
- Infusing the milk really adds to the flavour of this fish pie and adding warm milk to the roux when making the sauce, ensures that a smooth and silky sauce is easy to achieve.
- It is easier to top the pie with the potato if both filling and potato have cooled to room temperature.
- This is a simple fish pie and a can be used as a base for your own favourite additions – hard boiled eggs, spinach, capers or peas are all good additions.
- If making this for children, serve in individual ramekins – you can make a big batch and freeze individual portions easily this way. If cooking for very young children or babies, leave out the smoked fish as it is salty.
- If making in advance and the pie had been in the fridge, it may take longer to cook. If the top is browning too quickly, slide the cold plain shelf onto the second runners – this will protect the top whilst allowing the filling to cook through thoroughly. Alternatively, if you have a baking oven, cook the fish pie here for longer, transferring to the top of the roasting oven to brown the top, if necessary.
This fun family recipe has been scribed and tested by community member Antonia, who is a hard working mum with two boys. Her recipes are trialed in her much loved Aga range cooker and devoured by her family, allowing Antonia to provide accurate tips and advice on how to make the dishes a success! Go check her work out! She is a country girl, happily surrounded by an excitable Lab, her dear husband, two boys and the Cotswolds.