Monday, August 10, 2009

Kay's Fish Pie

This is a "fishy" version of Shepherd's Pie from Kay, and it's amazing! I've only made it once so far, and I used tilapia instead of cod, but we loved it! Hubby ate some of the leftovers for breakfast the next morning! :)

Please visit Kay's site to see her wonderful step-by-step pictures of this recipe.

It was very easy to convert it to be gluten and casein free.

UPDATE (9/1/09): I've made it twice more, the last time with cod, which was wonderful too!


Mashed potato topping:

1 1/2 lbs potatoes
roughly 2/3 cup of milk (rice milk works if you prefer)
2 T butter (omit butter if casein free)
salt, pepper, nutmeg

Fish/Vegetable Filling:

14 - 16 oz white fish (cod and tilapia both work)
1 1/2 cup milk (again, rice milk or almond milk or whatever will be OK)
2/3 cup vegetable (or fish or chicken) broth
1 1/2 cups green peas
1 small onion
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 large carrot
1 lemon
flat-leaf parsley
cheese (you'll have to omit the cheese or use rice or soy cheese to be casein free)

White Sauce:

4-5 T sweet rice flour
3 oz butter (or organic shortening or coconut oil if casein free)
1/2 tsp salt
white pepper


Peel, salt, boil and mash the potatoes. Season them with butter, a pinch of salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg, and set aside.

I used frozen tilapia; Kay used frozen cod. NOTE: according to Kay, what really gives a fish pie a major boost is adding some salmon, about 5 oz or so.

Place the fish in a deep pan—Kay always uses her Dutch oven for this—and pour in the milk and broth. You can use vegetable, chicken, or fish broth for it. I used chicken broth because that's what I had on hand.

Peel the medium onion, cut it in half and stick 3 cloves in one half. I know it seems a bit different, but this is how Kay's grandma did it.

Put the clove-studded onion in with the fish, clove side down, and season the liquid with 1/2 tsp salt and one fairly large bay leaf. Bring it to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes. Until the fish starts to flake.

In the mean time peel and coarsely grate 1 large carrot and dice the other half of the onion.

Another frozen item: 1 1/2 cup green peas. Kay says that she absolutely prefers frozen peas over fresh ones. I used frozen peas as well.

Chop a big handful of flat-leaf parsley. About 4 T. chopped.

In the mean time the fish should be done. Move it to a plate. Don't pour the cooking liquid out! You'll need it to make the sauce with. Discard the onion and bay leaf and sieve the liquid.

To make the sauce, melt 3 oz of butter and whisk in 4 to 5 T sweet rice flour. Cook the roux for a minute or two (over low heat), then slowly whisk in the sieved cooking liquid until you’ve reached a sauce consistency you like. You may or may not need all of the cooking liquid.

Season the sauce with salt (1/2 tsp for me), white pepper and simmer for another 3 minutes. Just set it aside while you prepare the vegetables. Tip: you may add a splash of white wine for a more adult type of fish pie! :)

Heat a small amount of oil and saute the carrots and onions for about 5 minutes, until soft. Don’t let them brown, though. Add the green peas and let the veggie mixture heat through for a few more minutes.

Grate and add the zest of half a lemon and squeeze in some lemon juice as well, about 1 or 2 tbsp. Also get the chopped parsley in there.

Transfer the vegetables to the oven dish (I used a round glass baking dish with fairly high sides), add the fish and carefully break it up with a spatula. Be gentle, though, don’t stir that poor fish like a maniac. You want the fish to still be in chunks when you're done. Pour the white sauce in there and mix it in gently.

Top it with the mashed potatoes. Kay says she always uses a fork to draw some stripes on the top of the potato layer. Top the mashed potatoes with a generous amount of cheese. Cheddar and Gouda both work really well for this, but I wouldn’t go for a very sharp (aged) cheese. It just doesn’t really add to the laid back flavors of the fish pie. NOTE: I used a mixture of medium cheddar and gruyere.

Bake the casserole at 350F (175C) for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown.

Wow....this is REAL comfort food!! My whole family loved it, even my three-year-old son! Good way to get him to eat vegetables....


  1. Ooo... don't know about a fish casserole, but I'll check out your other recipes as my mom is on a gluten-free diet.

    I found your blog while hopping from one to another.


  2. Hi Hadassah Rose,

    Oh...try it, you might like it!! :)

    Take care, and good luck to your mom!