Getting healthy, nourishing and tasty food into my children is literally one of my greatest battles in life. Each of my two are pretty good eaters singularly, but my word it’s difficult to find a meal that suits both of them and their foodie mother.
It’s something I feel I’m working on constantly (with little success); Hux’s favourite foods are cucumber and sausages, Elfie loves avocado and smoked salmon and I’m in the corner eating dry toast and gently rocking while I figure out a meal for each day of the week that’ll suit their sensitive and differing palates.
In this early Autumn season we usually end up at spag bol, because spag bol is something we can all agree on and there’s a small comfort in tucking into a piping hot dish of rich meaty pasta after you’ve accidentally stepped in a puddle on the school run.
But there are only so many Italian carbs you can feast on before someone starts moaning about the lack of smoked salmon/cucumber/chocolate. Which is why this easy fish pie was born: this creamy dish of glorious fishy goodness somehow seems to satisfy even the fussiest of my kids (Hux, I’m looking at you).
So when my friends at Waitrose challenged me to cook up some of my family’s favourite dishes using ingredients exclusively from their essential Waitrose range my mind immediately skipped over bolognese to this easy fish pie. It’s so simple to whip up, and hardly a challenge when we use so many of these exact ingredients already.
The essential range of products from Waitrose provide the high quality you’d expect at prices very friendly to your wallet. I always think of them as the standard of brand-name food and home stuffs at the price of a supermarket’s own-label; all products in the range are wonderfully fresh, tasty and are a pleasure to cook with.
Having shopped at Waitrose for the last five years it’s been a pleasure to see the essential Waitrose range of products expand and develop. Along with your daily essentials like eggs, milk and veggies you’ll also see some of my more exotic favourites in there, including brioche buns (I sandwich my famous fried chicken between them) and their artichoke hearts, which I roast with their skin-on chicken thighs, potatoes, lemon and rosemary – yum.
Because my kids are the kind of children who like fish but not if it’s too fishy (mums – please tell me you know what I mean here) I use Salmon and Prawns in the pie, which gets the good Omega-3 into them without the scary taste of Mackerel or Haddock.
There’s also three, yes THREE, veggie portions hidden inside: carrots, celery and spinach. GENIUS.
For ease I don’t peel any vegetables in this recipe. Leaving the skins on the mashed potatoes gives a gloriously crunchy crust, and to be honest when it comes to the carrots I don’t think anyone has an idea they haven’t been meticulously peeled by the time they’re cooked up and covered in cream.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Easy Fish Pie recipe
600g Salmon (around 4 fillets)
150g raw king prawns
1kg potatoes, skins on
2 carrots, top and tailed
2 stick of celery, top and tailed
1 onion, peeled
40g butter plus a little more for cooking
40g plain flour
50g cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp dijon mustard
1. Start by chopping the potatoes into 2cm chunks and popping on the hob in a saucepan full of salted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes. About five minutes before you think they’ll be done pop the eggs in to cook.
2. Chop your onions, celery and carrots finely. Melt a knob of butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat and pop in all the veg. Mix well and cook until soft, about 18 minutes.
3. Add the spinach to the pan with the veg (I chop coarsely so the kids can’t pick it out) and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes until wilted.
4. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and mash. Add salt, pepper, 200ml of cream and another knob of butter.
5. Melt 40g butter over a medium heat. When melted, add the flour and stir continuously for a couple of minutes to cook off.
6. Slowly add the milk and mix well to get rid of any lumps. Add the mustard then all cheese, reserving a handful for the top of the pie. Mix until a thick saucy texture.
7. While the sauce is cooking, skin and chop your salmon fillets into bite-size pieces. Pop into the saucepan with the veggies. Add the prawns too and stir. Chop your eggs roughly and chuck them in, too.
8. Stir the sauce into the veggies and fish.
9. Tip your fish and veggie mixture into a pie dish (you’ll need a big one!) and pop the mashed potato on top. If it’s all rough it will go beautifully crunchy! Top with the reserved cheddar cheese and oven bake for 25-30 minutes at 200 degrees C.
10. Serve with your favourite green veg – we like kale with a bit of garlic and butter – yum.
This post was commissioned by Waitrose, a place I love to shop!