Fish pie

Serves 8
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The Independent Online

I really like fish pie that is made inside a pastry case – it is generally lighter than one topped with potato. Buttered spinach is a nice accompaniment.

For the pastry

Follow precisely the basic pie dough recipe above left – only the filling is different. For the filling

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut finely
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 leeks, white part only, well washed and chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
1 small bunch of thyme, leaves only – but don't chop
250ml/8fl oz double cream
500g/1lb halibut or any white-fleshed fish
2 medium potatoes, such as roseval, peeled and chopped into one-inch cubes, cooked until just tender in well-salted water and drained
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the butter in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan and, once melted, add the carrots, celery, leeks, bay and thyme. Sweat very gently for 15 minutes, having added a little seasoning. When the vegetables are sweet and tender, pour in the cream, cook for one to two minutes then set aside (this can all be done while the base of the pie shell is baking).

Cut the fish into cubes and stir into the cream mixture, along with the cooked potatoes, and sprinkle over the parsley. The fish should not be cooked prior to going into the pie, or it will overcook and become tough and tasteless. Season well so that its flavour stands out from the flavour of the pastry. Now follow the rabbit pie recipe, including the cooking time, and serve.

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