Fabulous Fish Pie Recipe from Brixham, Devon

Weary Ploughman Fish Pie


From Chris Snowdon, Head Chef, The Weary Ploughman at Churston, Brixham

Serves 4


8oz fillet of naturally smoked haddock (try the Dartmouth Smokehouse haddock)

8oz fillet of cod

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8oz salmon

100g prawns (cooked king prawns are best)

100g fresh mussels (optional) just for flavour really! But you can remove the meat when cooked & add to the fish pie

2 local free-range eggs

80g garden peas

1 fennel

1 white onion

1 clove garlic

50ml vermouth

250ml fish stock

50g plain flour

50g unsalted butter

1 tsp English mustard

1.75kg Maris Piper potatoes

100ml double cream

60g salted butter

Salt, pepper

Fresh dill, sprig fresh thyme, small pinch ground nutmeg

Fresh parmesan cheese


First prepare your Mash:

Peel your potatoes and bring to the boil from cold water (this helps cook evenly) with a good pinch of salt. Rapidly boil for 15 mins then drain and return to pan. In a separate pan or in a plastic bowl in the microwave, heat your double cream & salted butter until the butter is melted.  Add the cream & butter to the potato with salt & pepper to taste.  Add the nutmeg and stir with a wooden spoon or a stiff whisk.  Really work the potato to get it as smooth as you can. Leave in the pan & cover until needed.

Boil Your Eggs:

Get the eggs boiling at this point.  I boil mine for 10 mins (from dropping them into rapidly boiling water) then cool them in cold water.

Prep Your Fish: 

Ask your fishmonger to skin and pinbone the fillets of fish for you. Then when ready to prepare, you can just dice up the fillets into pieces of around an inch squared.  I tend to steam my fish but if you don’t have a steamer then just place the fish onto an oven tray with a good sized lip around the edge.  Add 100ml water, season with salt and pepper & cover tightly with foil. Cook in a preheated over at 180 degrees C for 10 minutes, then remove cover & drain immediately.

For Your Sauce:

Dice your onion & fennel as small as you are comfortable with, take out the core of the fennel as this is often inedible. Chop your garlic clove & crush.  In a moderately heated pan, add 1 tbsp cooking oil & cover the bottom of the pan, then add your fennel, onion & garlic & the whole sprig of thyme, stirring well. Lower the heat & stir slowly until the onion & fennel become translucent.  At this point, turn the heat up until the oil starts to sizzle.  Carefully put in the vermouth & allow to almost disappear then add your fish stock & the mussels (optional), bring to the boil and cover for 3 minutes or until then mussels open then turn down to a simmer. Remove the mussels from the stock & whisk in the English mustard.  In a separate pan, melt down the unsalted butter till liquid, then add the flour slowly, continuously stirring & take off the heat; the roux will form into a ball around the spoon.  Allow this to cool for a few minutes before handling. Take the butter/flour mixture and crumble into the stock slowly, whisking until the stock becomes thick like a custard consistency.  Continue cooking for 5 minutes whilst stirring to ‘cook out’ the flour. Remove the sprig of thyme; you won’t need it again.  Take off the heat, add a splash of double cream and season to finish.

Putting Your Fish Pie Together:

Chop a few nice twigs of dill & peel and chop the boiled eggs.  Add the cooked fish, the prawns, the peas, the dill, the mussel meat (optional) & the chopped eggs into the sauce and mix well.  Place the mixture into a pie dish and spread out evenly.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before topping with potato.  Use a fork to create wavy peaks on top of the potato & then grate the fresh parmesan onto the top, grill until golden brown and serve piping hot.  Delicious!

For information on booking a fabulous Weary Ploughman Christmas Party click here

The Weary Ploughman is an historic hotel and restaurant located right next to picturesque Churston Station, where the steam railway stops on the way from Paignton to Kingswear. Chef Chris Snowdon offers freshly prepared dishes using a wide range of locally sourced ingredients.  Much of the fish and shellfish is landed at Brixham and delicious mussels come straight from the clear waters of Torbay or the River Teign. Most of the inn’s lamb and pork, ham, bacon & sausages, come from Devon farms. Beef and chicken are from West Country suppliers and free-range eggs come from the nearby village of Marldon.


Tel: 01803-844702