I thought I may have had to miss out on the 'potato' theme because even though I LOVE potato, my tummy does not so I don't often cook with them. But then this recipe presented itself and reminded me of the ginger version of spuds - sweet potatoes of course! Being a redhead I should never forget these guys. In fact there are a lot of orange ingredients in this pie...
Like the celeriac, I was introduced to fish pies when I lived in the UK but I've never cooked one myself. I thought this recipe from the May/June issue of Frankie Magazine sounded interesting with the cayenne and the capers.
I did change my version a little bit though; I used 300gms smoked cod and 200gms of prawns and I also I went a little heavy handed with the cheese, but never mind.
If you're having trouble finding smoked fish try your deli but if you prefer adding fresh fish my local fishmonger recommended doing a mix of rockling and whiting, so I might try that next time.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 large white onion, finely diced (I used half a brown one)
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
3 1/2tbs flour
750ml milk (it said full cream but I used a 2% version and it worked just fine), plus an extra splash for the mash
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1/2tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if you can get it
zest and juice of half a lemon
2tbsp capers (rinse the brine off them or they'll taste like nail polish remover)
500gm smoked fish (or a mix with fresh like I did)
850gm sweet potato (approx 3-4), peeled and roughly chopped
2 handfuls of grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to season
handful of breadcrumbs (optional)
Smoked cod - also a redhead
Preheat oven to 220C degrees.
Put the sweet potato in a large pot and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and cook the potato until mashable, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion and celery. Cook stirring for about 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the flour and stir well to cook it off for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and stir constantly until you bring the sauce to the boil. This will take a little while, don't be impatient and don't give up. Most importantly though, don't turn up the heat, it won't help!
When the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat for a minute or two (no longer though or it will form a skin) and then add the seafood, capers, nutmeg and cayenne. Beware flaking smoked fish by hand - you'll have cod fingers for the rest of the night.
Your potato will be well-ready by now so add a splash of milk, season and mash until thick and creamy.
Pour the fish mixture into a well-greased baking tray and dollop the potato on top. Smooth it out as best you can to cover the entire pie, you can use a fork to fluff up the potato. Sprinkle on the cheese and crumbs and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
The recipe advised to serve on peas but we're not friends so I just had it on its own.
This is a hearty feed, good comfort food and perfect for a winter's night. It could do with some fresh parsley I think and perhaps a bay leaf in the milk while making the sauce just to give it a little bit more oomph.