Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Takeaways - Chowder pie

Last night I had a fish pie for dinner. I'd prepared it a while ago and frozen for just such a night when I wasn't in the mood to cook. Nothing too remarkable about that, I hear you say. And I'd agree, normally.

This fish-pie was the last one from a batch that I'd specially prepared as a take-away meal for a pair of friends...

Jo was going to visit Emma in Norwich for the weekend. Last time Jo had been round to mine it was for an AA tasting and she'd been teasing Emma with pictures of the meal as she ate. Emma felt rather hard done by that she'd missed out. One of them suggested that I should prepare a "take-away" for Jo to take up next time she went to Norwich. Thus the idea was borne.

I'm pretty sure it was a joke at first and neither of them really thought I'd do it. However, I've been thinking for some time about how to make cooking a bigger part of my life. One way may be to provide bespoke meals. This was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

The brief from the girls was a meal that was:
  • healthy and light
  • easy to prepare
  • not full of smelly stuff like garlic (so as not to scare off the boys!)
My first thought was some sort of pasta bake but that just seemed too easy and clichéd. Prompted by some items in the fridge I went for a fish dish: a cross between fish pie and a chowder.

Happily it worked rather well. The girls were very complimentary and enjoyed the lot.

Straight from the oven

All gone!

Chowder pie recipe

Smoked haddock (undyed) - 2 fillets
Cod - 2 fillets
Lemon sole - 1 fillet
1 bay leaf
1/2 Red onion
4 rashers smoky bacon
1 small tin of corn
Crème fraîche
2oz Butter
1 egg yolk

1. Gently poach the fish. Put the fillets in a frying pan and just cover with milk add a bay leaf and poach until cooked (3-5 minutes). If there's a lot of fish it would be better to do it in batches. Reserve the poaching liquid.
2. Cool the cooked fish and gently flake carefully removing any skin and bones into a large bowl.
3. Fry the smoky bacon in a little vegetable oil until crisp.
4. In the same pan as the bacon, fry the red onion until soft.
5. Combine the bacon, corn, onion and peas with the fish flakes. Add crème fraîche and Tabasco to taste. Season to taste.
6. Cook the potato until soft and then mash. Use butter and a little of the poaching milk, the mash should be reasonably dry. Beat in an egg yolk to the finished mash.
7. Assemble the pie by filling the dish 2/3full with the fish mix. Then top with the mash.
8. Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until the top has browned.

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