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Kale and Hake Pie

12 February 2016

Hake is a great, sustainable local-waters fish and it’s hard to beat on quality or price. The rich flakiness  of the flesh is perfect for this pie but haddock could also make for a good alternative. I love meals that don’t need much washing up and this is the ideal option, especially for a busy after-school night.

One thing to remember though is if you use purple kale, you’ll end up with a blue pie! Still tastes delicious but you might get a fright when it is cut into.

Makes 4 individual pies


For the filling:

150g green curly kale, cut into bite-size pieces
500ml full-fat milk
1 small onion
3 cloves
1 bay leaf, broken in half
500g hake or haddock
50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
50g plain flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
200g Isle of Mull cheddar, coarsely grated

For the topping:

500g floury potatoes
50g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
A good splash of full-fat milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper


First make the topping. Peel and cut potatoes into quarters, put in a pan and cover with cold salty water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain well, then add the butter and egg yolk. Beat well to prevent the egg from cooking and add enough milk to make a creamy consistency. Season and set aside.

Plunge the kale into boiling salted water until tender but not overcooked. Drain and refresh under cold water, then drain again. Set aside. Put the milk in a large pan over a low heat. Add the onion, cloves and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Add the fish to the mix, increase the heat and bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat and leave the fish to poach in the milk for five minutes. Leave to cool, then remove the fish and flake it, being careful to get rid of bones. Strain the milk and set aside.

For the sauce, put the butter in a medium pan over a low heat until melted. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture starts to bubble. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add half the strained milk and beat with a metal whisk or wooden spoon to prevent lumps forming. When the sauce starts to thicken, add half the cheese and season.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease four individual 400g pie dishes and divide the cooked kale between them. Divide the fish between the dishes on top of the kale. Pour on the sauce and spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes on top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes until the potato is golden brown.