A hearty layered fish pie with leeks, breadcrumbs and a cheesy/mustard sauce which uses the peppercorn infused cooking liquor to add an extra flavour dimension. Nutritious and delicious!
To mark the occasion of the first ever Credit Crunch Munch I wanted to come up with a family meal that was nutritious, delicious and let’s not beat about the bush, cheap! I was wandering around my local supermarket looking for inspiration and getting very annoyed at the high prices of everything, then I remembered the frozen fish aisle and the bags of value white fish. To my delight a 580g bag was just £2, bargain. So that was my first hurdle over with, the next was to come up with something that my children would like. In the past I’ve jazzed up this fish in a Thai Fish Curry but that was out of the question. I remembered a dish I used to make at school called Fish Charlotte which was layers of cooked fish, white sauce, breadcrumbs and sliced tomato. Although to my taste I knew I would have a mutiny on my hands if I served that to my daughter who is faddy to say the least! So thinking around the box I decided on a similar idea using leeks instead of tomato and a cheese sauce infused with the cooking liquor from the fish, leeks and peppercorns (which added subtle heat).
My daughter had asked me what was for dinner and on hearing it was white fish explained to me that she wouldn’t be eating that – my heart sank, like I imagine many mum’s hearts do every night when their darlings won’t eat what’s good for them! But she informed me she would eat Salmon. Well I normally buy a side of salmon when it’s on offer and slice it up into 9 or 10 pieces and freeze what I don’t use. I knew I had an odd piece left in the freezer and told her that her corner of the pie could be made with that – phew disaster averted.
The upshot was that the meal was a total success and there were clean plates all round. My husband told me that I could definitely make it again and maybe add some prawns next time (value ones of course)!
All in all the fish came to about £2, the value leeks 70p, Cheddar 50p and the store cupboard items say 20p – that’s a total of £3.40 making a single serving 85p. I call that that pretty good for something I wouldn’t have been disappointed at being served to me in a restaurant!
So I am of course entering this dish into “Credit Crunch Munch” over on Fuss Free Flavours which is mine and Helen’s new challenge and I hope to make my next dish even cheaper or will you beat me – there, I’ve laid down the gauntlet. See you in February when I’ll be hosting and lets see how low we can go!
I am also entering my Fish Pie into Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays challenge where everything has to be made from scratch.
So start by putting your fish in a saucepan.
Followed by the leeks, peppercorns and water and simmer for 10 minutes.
Next make a roux by melting the butter and stirring in the flour, cook for 1 minute.
Off the heat add the milk and fish stock stirring til thickened, then add the cheese & mustard.
Put half the fish and leeks into an ovenproof dish.
Then put half the cheese sauce and breadcrumbs on top.
Then repeat and finish with a dusting of Cayenne Pepper.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Enjoy with your favourite vegetables!
- 350g / 12oz Frozen fish pieces (white/oily)
- 25g / 1oz Butter or margarine
- 25g / 1oz Plain flour
- 2 Leeks, sliced
- 4 Peppercorns
- 200 ml / 6.5 fl oz Milk
- 200 ml / 6.5 fl oz Fish stock (from fish liquor)
- 1 heaped tsp Wholegrain mustard
- 70g / 2oz Extra mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- About 3-4 tbs Fresh breadcrumbs
- Cayenne pepper for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place the fish (preferably skinless) in a pan with the leeks and peppercorns and put in enough cold water to just cover.
- Place a lid on the pan and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- If your fish has skin on then remove it at this stage.
- Drain the fish and leek mixture reserving the liquor, keep the fish and leeks in lidded pan to keep warm.
- Make a roux by melting the butter/marg over a medium heat and then stir in the flour (I like to use a whisk) and cook for a minute stirring constantly.
- Combine the milk and fish stock and stir/whisk these in off the heat gradually until you have a smooth thin sauce.
- Put back on the heat and stir/whisk constantly until thickened (coats the back of a spoon).
- Add the grated cheese and mustard and stir through until melted.
- Place half the fish pieces and leeks in a deep ovenproof dish followed by half the sauce, half the breadcrumbs and then repeat, finishing with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
- Place in the oven for 15 minutes until topping is golden