Savory Winter Seafood Pie


seafoodpie

It has been several years since I last posted on this blog. Life has been beyond crazy, with the biggest change being that I no longer live in the food and wine paradise known as Northern California. Instead, I am now living in the land of my birth, Arkansas. Things are much slower here and the wine produced here doesn’t interest me, but on a good note, my home state has an abundance of natural beauty and the cultural and food offerings are rapidly growing.

So, in an effort to ring the bells on bobtails and make spirits bright (aka making lemonade out of lemons), today, on my official return to blogging, I am sharing one of my all-time favorite winter recipes.

This tummy-warming pot pie is perfect for cold and rainy winter nights. I had a girlfriend’s holiday party on a recent and rather blustery evening and the six of us gobbled up two whole pies! This dish is also a wonderful treat for Christmas Eve or Day brunch. I’ve served it in the past with a green salad, laced with winter fruits and nuts, on the side, or like the other evening it went great with roasted Brussels sprouts.

I developed my version of fish pie over the years after experimenting with a variety of British recipes and my favorite ingredients. I’ve even tried oysters and salmon in it, but find that I prefer milder tasting fish for this dish. Feel free to substitute ingredients, but I promise that this combo is perfection!

The following recipe makes two 10″ pies or you can back them in individual pot pie-sized ramekins by following the cooking time for just about any small pie. This recipe also freezes well.

Ingredients:

2 cups Chicken Stock
8 ozs Scallops, shelled with muscles removed
8 ozs Cod, Snapper, Haddock or Halibut, cut into a few large pieces
8 ozs roughly chopped Lobster or Shrimp (or a combo of both)
1 additional cup Chicken Stock
6 baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 small Carrots, again, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Sherry
1 small Onion, finely minced
1 stalk Celery, finely minced
6 small Brown Mushrooms, stems removed, cut in half, then sliced
1/4 cup Unbleached Flour
1 cup Half-n-Half or Cream
1/4 grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
6 ozs roughly chopped precooked real Crab (not the fake stuff, please)
1/2 cup frozen Green Peas
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pastry for 2 double-crust 10″ pies

In a large pot, bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add scallops, shrimp and your choice of white fish, lower the heat and cook for no more than 3 minutes, until the fish begins to flake with a fork. Separate the fish into bite-size pieces as it cooks. Be careful not to overcook. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish and shellfish to a bowl. Break up the scallops as well into smaller bite-sized pieces. IF you are using uncooked crab, add it in with this step. If using pre-cooked crab, add it when noted further down in the recipe.

Reserve 1 cup of the stock in a separate bowl, while retaining the rest in the pot. Add 1 cup of the additional fresh chicken stock to the remaining stock in the pot (and a little water if needed), and bring it back up to a boil.

Add the potatoes and carrots, cooking until barely tender. Do NOT completely cook. Drain off the liquid and set aside.

In the bowl with the reserved cup of chicken stock that has cooled, whisk in the half-n-half and dijon. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the sherry. Add the onions, celery, and mushrooms and cook until soft. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute.

Slowly add the reserved stock/half-n-half/dijon mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add parmesan and stir.

Next, carefully fold in all of your pre-cooked crab meat, and other cooked fish and shellfish.

Add frozen green peas, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Line a deep-dish 10″ pie plate with the half the pastry, and pour in half of the seafood/veggie mixture. Repeat for the other pie, or adapt it for smaller ramekins.

Cut 3-4 small fish shapes from the top crust for vents and reserve the cutouts. Place the top crust on the pie, seal and crimp the edges. Dampen the underside of the fish cutouts with water and place between the vents on the top crust for decoration.

Bake in the center of a preheated 375-degree oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. You might want to put foil on the bottom of your oven, as the filling does have a tendency to bubble out through the vents!

Use your judgment on the pie crusts… make a 2 crust pie or simply top the ingredients with pastry and leave it off of the bottom. I like pie crust, so I always opt for a top and bottom. Each pie gives you 4 hearty servings when served with a salad. When serving with other items such as roasted Brussels Sprouts, you can stretch it out to serve 6!

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