Easy British Fish Pie

Easy British Fish Pie

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 baking dish
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
638 Calories
28g Fat
65g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 638
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 87mg 29%
Sodium 1280mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 24%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 33mg 165%
Calcium 164mg 13%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 1485mg 32%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This British fish pie is a one-pot supper dish that is easy to make and can be economical to cook. The pie is made with a combination of fish, so feel free to use any you have on hand, or ask your fishmonger for a selection of fish scraps (usually, they will charge you less than the market price). The fish is poached in a fish stock and milk mixture, combined with cooked leeks and parsley, and then topped with a fluffy layer of mashed potatoes before baking until golden brown. It can be sprinkled with grated cheese, if desired, for added richness. Serve the fish pie with peas or other fresh greens for a complete meal.

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"The fish pie was an easy preparation. All you need is some prepared mashed potatoes and the fish and sauce filling. My fish broth had some salt, so I only added about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Very tasty and made a nice meal with a salad." —Diana Rattray

Traditional British Fish Pie Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fish stock

  • 1 cup milk

  • 12 ounces fish, skin and bones removed, cut into bite-sized chunks

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1 medium leek, white part only, washed thoroughly and finely sliced

  • 2 ounces all purpose flour (a little less than 1/2 cup)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt, to taste

  • Dash ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (warm and creamy)

  • A handful of grated cheddar cheese, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 355 F/180 C.

    Easy British fish pie ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Pour the fish stock and milk into a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

    Fish stock and milk in a large saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the fish pieces and bay leaf and poach for 5 minutes.

    Fish pieces and bay leaf in the poaching liquid

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Remove the fish pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the liquid in the pot.

    Poached fish on a plate; poaching liquid in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and cook for 5 minutes until the leek is soft.

    Leeks cooking with butter in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. While still hot, add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.

    Flour and leek mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Pour the fish poaching liquid into the pan and stir again. Raise the temperature and cook for 3 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

    Fish poaching liquid added to the flour and leek mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and add the poached fish and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

    Adding poached fish and chopped parsley to the pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Spoon the fish mixture into an ovenproof dish. Cover with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and fluff them up with a fork. For a more professional look, you can pipe the mashed potatoes using a piping bag with a large nozzle.

    Mashed potatoes over the fish stew

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Sprinkle with the grated cheese if using.

    Mashed potatoes topped with cheese

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Put the dish on a baking sheet and cook in the center of the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling beneath the potatoes. Serve immediately and enjoy.

    Easy British fish pie

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover fish pie in a covered container for up to 3 days.
  • The whole pie or leftover pie may be frozen in the baking dish or another container. To freeze the pie, cover the baking dish or container tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Defrost the frozen fish pie in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the pie with foil and bake it in a preheated 375 F oven for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.




Tips

  • It is best to use fresh, seasonal fish whenever possible, but frozen is fine as long as you defrost it first to avoid water in the bottom of the casserole dish. Using fish that isn't properly defrosted can lead to a watery fish pie.
  • Choose non-oily, fleshy fish such as salmon, cod, smoked haddock, and coley (aka pollock), which is similar to cod.
  • Either buy one type of fish or mix different fish, even shrimp or prawns, together.
  • Bake the pie in a 2-quart to 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

Recipe Variations

  • Give the pie a little crunch with a final sprinkling of crushed potato chips or panko crumbs.
  • Add extra flavor to the sauce with some chopped fresh dill or chives, or add a grating of nutmeg.
  • Boiled eggs are often added to fish pie. Chop 3 or 4 peeled, hard-boiled. Sprinkle the chopped eggs over the sauce mixture just before topping with the mashed potatoes.
  • A bit of wine can add complex flavor to the sauce. Just before adding the poaching liquid to the leek mixture, add about 1/3 cup of dry white wine.



What Wine Goes With British Fish Pie?

Choose a smooth, dry white wine. Unoaked chardonnay, chenin blanc, pinot gris, and sauvignon blanc are all good options. If you prefer a red wine, choose pinot noir or Beaujolais.