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The Pig's Proper Fish Pie

Course: dinner
Cuisine: British
Keyword: fish, pie
Servings: 4 people
Author: The Pig


  • 500 ml 18fl oz fish stock
  • 100 ml 3½fl oz white wine
  • 500 g 1lb 2oz seasonal fresh fish fillets, skinless cut into 3cm (1¼ inch) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

For the sauce

  • 50 g 1¾oz butter
  • 50 g 1¾oz flour
  • 180 ml 6fl oz double cream
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy essence
  • salt and pepper

For the topping

  • 50 g 1¾oz butter
  • 4 large floury potatoes we use Maris Piper, peeled, boiled until soft, and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 15 g ½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 10 g ¼oz Parmesan cheese grated
  • freshly ground white pepper


  • In a large pan, bring the fish stock and white wine to a simmer before placing the fish in the pan to poach gently in the liquid for 2 minutes. Drain the fish in a colander over a bowl, as you need to collect the cooking liquid for the sauce. Leave the fish to cool.
  • To make the sauce, melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan over a low heat, then stir in the flour. Gradually add the drained stock and wine mixture, stirring well until it has all been added. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add the double cream and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce has a thick consistency that coats the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and anchovy essence, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Gently fold the cooked fish and chopped parsley into the sauce – you want the fish to remain in large chunks if possible. Spoon into 4 individual pie dishes or a single large one, leaving a gap of around 3cm (1¼ inches) at the top of the dish. Leave to set for about 30 minutes so that the mash doesn’t sink when piped on top.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C fan (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Mix the butter into the mashed potato, season with a little salt and freshly ground white pepper and add the milk so that the mixture is soft enough to pipe. Using a piping bag, pipe the potato over the pie(s) or, for a more rustic look, just dollop it all on top. Both can be very satisfying.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then scatter on the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and bake for a further 15 minutes, until golden.