Low calorie fish and leek pie

by Karen Burns-Booth
Low calorie fish and leek pie

Low calorie fish and leek pie

Fish Pie, the very words conjure up cosy evening meals at the kitchen table with piles of fluffy mashed potatoes, flaky fresh fish and a full tummy! I am a big pie fan, I love pies of all types…..puff pastry pies with tender pieces of beef, short crust pasties with farmhouse Cheddar cheese and potato topped pies such as Shepherd’s and Cottage pie, if it has pie in the title, it is the meal for me!

But, pies are laden with calories, they are the ultimate comfort food recipes……they are packed with tasty fillings and are encased (or topped) with pastry and potatoes. Perfect though they may be for a cold winter’s day and a family supper, or as part of an extravagant summer picnic, they are just a teensy weensy on the high calorie side, unfortunately for me when I am on a diet!

The usual fish pie of my childhood, and the recipe that I still follow today (my mum’s recipe) comprises smoked haddock, cod, prawns, boiled eggs and peas all bound in a rich parsley sauce and topped with mounds, and I mean mounds, of cheesy mashed potatoes, with an extra layer of grated cheese and sliced tomatoes on top…..a veritable hunk of a dish, and a firm family favourite.

Whilst my low-calorie recipe for Comforting Fish and Leek Pie may not have ALL of those elements in it, it IS comforting and also very filling; plus it has lovely Scottish smoked haddock and cod as part of the ingredients. This fish pie, when served with a generous portion of curly kale, is only 250 calories per serving, and it’s packed with flavour. It’s very easy to make, and can be on the table from start to finish in about 45 minutes.

As well as the prime Scottish fish that I used in this recipe, there is a leek, some breadcrumbs with lemon zest and lots of fresh herbs……the topping is then finished off with some lemon slices, which make the pie look attractive whilst adding to the citrus flavour as the fish pie bakes. Yes, I know, it is NOT the usual pastry or mashed potato kind of pie, but it is hearty and filling and is perfect for anyone who is following the 5:2 diet, for a fast day (low calorie day where women are allowed 500 calories and men are allowed 600 calories a day).

I hope you enjoy this fish pie as much as we did when we had it the other day; on a non-fast day or when serving this recipe to the family, you can serve some mashed potatoes or crusty bread as an accompaniment, as well as assorted seasonal veggies.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place the sliced leeks in a large frying or sauté pan that has a lid and add 1 tablespoon of water. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on, or until the leeks are soft
Add the fish and the milk to the pan and simmer with the lid on for a further 5-8 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and is starting to flake. Drain, remove the fish and leeks and put them into an ovenproof dish
Mix the cornflour with a little water and add it to the hot milk cooking liquor. Heat it gently until the milk thickens and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs of your choice
Pour the milk sauce over the fish and leeks. Mix the grated lemon zest with the breadcrumbs and scatter them evenly over the top of the pie filling
Arrange the lemon slices over the top and scatter over some more herbs, leaving some for garnish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot
Serve with steamed curly kale and a lemon wedge for a low-calorie and comforting meal
Serve with curly kale and a lemon wedge