fish pie in a casserole dish with piped mashed potato crust
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4.5 from 6 votes

Classic New England Fish Pie Recipe

My Classic New England Fish Pie Recipe has a base of fish, leeks, parsnips and peas in a creamy white sauce, topped with a cheddar-y horseradish and buttermilk mash ~  it's hands down the most comforting meal I've had all year.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings



  • 1 lb fresh cod fillet, skin removed (or other fish like halibut or salmon)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 leeks, peeled, washed, and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas (don't defrost)
  • 3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish, or horseradish cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Put the milk and bayleaf in a saucepan over medium heat. Cut the fish into 4 or 5 pieces and add to the milk along with 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.
  • In a large pot melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute the parsnips and leeks for about 10 minutes over medium heat until softened. Stir often and don't allow them to burn.
  • Strain the fish and reserve the milk. Set both aside.
  • Add the flour to the parsnips and leeks and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, and again, don't let it brown. Slowly pour in the strained milk, stirring constantly, until smooth. Continue heating until the mixture thickens and almost comes to a simmer.
  • Add the fish to the pot, breaking it into large chunks as you add it. Season with salt and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Stir in the frozen peas. Cover and set aside on the stove top to keep warm.
  • Meanwhile cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water until completely soft. Drain them and whip with 2 tablespoons of the butter, the cheese, the butttermilk, and the horseradish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Be sure to get out all lumps.
  • Turn the fish mixture into your baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes. You can pipe them on (see inspructions in the blog post) or just spoon them on. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and gently dab over the mashed potatoes with a silicone brush. If you like you can brush again during cooking.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden browned and bubbling.


What to serve with fish pie ~

Fish pie can absolutely be a meal in itself, but if you want to add something to it, here are a few suggestions: steamed Brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, or a crisp salad.