Life’s a Feast: Salmon, dill and prawn pies

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It’s only natural that we are yearning for comfort food at this time of year, and what better way to satisfy that need than with a hearty pie! I was inspired to write a fish pie recipe after a recent visit to Te Anau. We came across an absolute gem, Miles Better Pies. Wow. I can categorically say it was one of the best fish pies have ever eaten! With 18 flavours to choose from, there was something for every palate. This recipe is essentially a combination of two Kiwi classics, the meat pie and fush and chups. Its creamy sauce is elevated with a subtle tang from the capers and lemon. This is something the whole family can enjoy or serve up for weekend lunch. Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 5 MINS
COOK TIME: 20-40 MINS
MAKES: 10-12 PIES

Ingredients

400g fresh salmon
400ml milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons flour
100ml wine
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
150g prawns, shell and tail removed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon caper juice (optional)
Salt to taste
5 sheets frozen puff pastry

Method

1. Place the salmon into a medium pot and pour over the milk. Bring it to a simmer, and let it cook for 5 mins then take off the heat and let it sit for 5 mins before removing the salmon and setting aside the milk for later use.

2. Take another pot and melt the butter. Add your leek and cook on a low heat for 5-6 mins until it has softened.

3. Add in your flour and stir for 3-4 mins until flour thoroughly combines. Pour in the wine, stirring very quickly till it absorbs, then take off heat and pour in half the milk and stir quickly until all lumps are gone and it’s smooth. If you can’t get out lumps, grab a whisk to remove.

4. Pop back on heat and pour in milk, a little at a time until it thickens, then add in a little more, constantly stirring. You want to get it so it is thick enough to hold the pie filling, and not too runny it all just pours out when you eat it. You may not use all the milk, or may need a little more.

5. Add in your cream cheese next, then add in your chopped capers, dill and salt and combine.

6. Add in your chopped prawns and cook for 2-3 mins until cooked through, then remove the skin from the salmon and break it up into bite-size pieces and pop into the white sauce.

7. If you don’t have a pie maker, pre-heat your oven to 180degC.

8. I have a pie maker, so I simply cut out 10 bases and 10 tops to fit the pie maker with pasta cutters. Alternatively use a large cup or small round plate to cut round. Remember the bottom of the pie needs to be larger than the top. If you don’t have a pie maker, you could use a muffin tin, small pie tins or simply make one large pie in a glass dish with 2-4 whole sheets.

9. Place larger pastry into your pie dish after greasing and spoon in the fish mixture till just below the top. Place the smaller top pastry on. It will seal itself in the pie maker, but press down with fingers or a fork to seal.

10. If baking the small pies in the oven, bake for about 25 mins, but if baking a whole large pie (you may need to overlap two pieces of pastry on the bottom and top), you will need to bake for 40-45 mins. Pierce the top of the large one with a sharp knife to allow steam to release. Cook till golden.

11. Serve with a healthy salad or steamed vegetables.