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Fish and fennel pot pie

Fish and fennel pie, fancy enough for The Feast of Seven Fishes, easy enough for every day.

The idea for this rustic fish and fennel pot pie came to me in a dream, and unless you are Sigmund Freud (you're not, are you?), I'm not going to bore you with the details. Somewhere in the dream, I was planning a menu for La Vigilia, the traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast of seven fishes, which in real life I don't celebrate, so I'm sure it wasn't real.

One of the dishes on my imaginary menu was a fish pot pie, and if I were making this for La Vigilia, I'd stuff it with several kinds of fish, and perhaps some shrimp or scallops, too. A brightly flavored bulb of fennel will make a real difference, but if you don't like the anise overtones of fennel, swap in celery instead.

Add several different types of fish to this pot pie.

Fish and fennel pot pie

From the pantry, you'll need: butter, onion, chicken broth (or white wine), all-purpose unbleached flour, parsley, mild red pepper flakes, thyme, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, refrigerated pie crust, egg.

Serves 4-6.


3 Tbsp butter
2 cups finely diced potato, any type (skins on or off), or leftover cooked potato
1 small bulb fresh fennel, trimmed and diced (reserve the fronds), or 1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine
Pinch of mild red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp dried thyme (or 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1-1/2 lbs cod chunks, completely defrosted if frozen
3 Tbsp all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup milk
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water


First, make the filling: In a large, deep-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat the butter over low-medium heat. Add the potatoes, fennel and onion, and stir to coat the vegetables with the butter. Cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just tender and the other vegetables are translucent.

Pour in the broth (or wine), and scrape up any stuck bits from the pan. Season with red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and black pepper.

Mix in the fish; it should begin to cook instantly from the heat in the pan. When the fish is half cooked, sprinkle on the flour, and stir to incorporate it. The fish and vegetables should get a bit clumpy as the flour cooks. This will take just a minute or two. When the flour is all incorporated (and no longer white), pour in the milk, and stir well. The sauce will begin to thicken as you bring it to a simmer.

When the fish sauce is thickened (not like glue, but like a nice white sauce), remove the pan from the heat, and set aside.

Note: at this point, you can let the sauce cool to room temperature (15-20 minutes), and continue with the recipe. Or, cool the sauce completely and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until you are ready to bake the pie.

To finish the pie: Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Transfer the fish and vegetable filling to a deep pie dish or small casserole dish. If your filling has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before adding the crust. Unroll the pie crust, and stretch it over the edges of the dish. Press the crust against the sides of pie dish, so there is a nice overhang. Trim any extra. (Remember, this is a rustic pie, so the edges need not be perfect).

With a sharp knife, make a steam hole in the center of the pie crust. Add a few random slits here and there, just as you would on a fruit pie. Use a pastry brush to paint the crust with the beaten egg mixture.

Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is browned. Remove from the oven, and set aside for 10 minutes to let the filling regroup.

Serve warm.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More fish pie variations:
Seafood pie, from The Perfect Pantry
New England fish pie, from The View from Great Island
Fish pie with lemon mash, from Not Quite Nigella

Serve this fish and fennel pot pie for The Feast of Seven Fishes, or any day.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love pot pie, so I am pretty sure I would love this. And fennel is a lovely touch.

Kalyn, I love pot pie, too. This is a slightly grown-up version of that chicken pot pie I used to eat when I was a child.

When I read the recipe title I thought this would be a fussy recipe but it's really quite simple. Love that the edges of the pie crust need not be perfect! :) When I was growing up my mom would made me those single serve chicken pot pies for a treat and I now love any pot pie, especially homemade ones. :)

Janice, I'd almost call this an "everyday" pie, it's that easy to make, but it looks so much fancier! For The Feast of Seven Fishes, I'd add some salmon (for pink, of course), and maybe shrimp and scallops -- wouldn't that be good?

Yikes, yes that would be great! When we finally get together for lunch I want to hear more about your dream. :)

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