Sharing Stories in Bits & Bites

Gettin’ Freekeh Fish Pie!

I confess to being on a food mission over this past year. After relocating our entire life to a new community. I’m no longer working…officially. This kitchen is more spacious and well-equipped. We now live minutes away from many fantastic food sources. I’m inspired by the amazing food bounty our locale offers. Lush farms to salty ocean. I have also been “cleaning up” my kitchen. Taking that extra time required to avoid processed foods and make more ‘honest’ food choices. It isn’t always easy because there are so many varied opinions around here…but I’m thinking it’s worth it.

This fish pie is a sorta cleaned up version of a white rice one I used to do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s wine and dairy in this, I’m not that devoted. It took a little searching to find a tasty replacement that held up in the baking process. If you haven’t tried freekeh yet, it’s delicious. Not gluten-free, but a great source of fibre, protein and low in sugars. It’s it’s an ancient whole grain where the young green wheat has been roasted. Personally I like the name…say it with me “free-kay”, awesome right?

Tried a few other new-to-me ingredients in my development process, one was celery root or celeriac. I’d been half-watching a health cooking TV show while folding twenty thousand loads of laundry one day, and they mentioned cutting it up, cooking in a little butter and creating a pureé. The tv cook suggested it to thicken soup instead of flour. On the produce shelf, it’s butt ugly, not an elegant eggplant…that’s for sure. THIS GUY is the ugly duckling of vegetables!  Like carrots, it is a great source of poly-acetylene anti-oxidants. Wha-at? Those are the dudes that are great at fighting off certain types of colon cancer, good yes? It is also absolutely delicious, oh my gosh, so hooked. I am not the only fan. Chef Ryan Zuvitch at Hilltop Bistro is featuring it in one of his mouth-watering fall menu items and Jamie Oliver loves it his smashed potatoes. That’s right, I keep good company. Try it. It’s good and good for ya!

You might be rolling your eyes at the adorable fish pattern I used for my pie. Well excuuuse me…but I have a good reason for it. Actually, I have three:

  1. It is super cute and I dig cute things, so do my kids. Some people think I have more time than common sense.
  2. I am an art teacher, I can NOT help myself. I like to make functional items pretty as well. It is an incurable disease, therefore I have learned to accept it.
  3. You might call me addicted to children’s books. Arty the Smarty was a favourite, given to me by my grandmother when I was six, and I still have it. Do you see how one little fish is swimming one way with an enormous smile on his face away from all the grumpy fish. Good lesson. Good book. Great Pie. Here’s the recipe…feel free to decorate your crust in any way you see fit. Or not. I won’t judge.

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Arty the Smarty Fish Pie

Ingredients: (serves 8, next day leftovers are delicious)

  • 5 cups white fish, chopped, I have used snapper, cod or whatever happens to be on sale
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 celery root, chopped
  • 1 tbs butter or ghee
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup grated asiago cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 3oz. package of Tilley’s West Coast Bouillabaisse seasoning, available at Thrifty Foods (or a bunch of your fave herbs & spices)
  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 3 cups fresh green beans, blanched and diced (or use frozen)
  • 1 cups small carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 cup freekeh, uncooked
  • 2 frozen pie crusts thawed or enough of your own favourite home made pie crust rolled out to cover a large casserole dish
  • 1 egg, beaten
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the fish, the flavour, the finished product!

Method:

  1. Pour yourself ½ cup chilled white wine, sip…ahhh that’s better…pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. In a large frying pan, add garlic to coconut oil over medium heat, add chopped fish in small batches.
  3. When fish has turned white add ¼ cup wine and lemon juice to poach for a few minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, add chopped celery root, brown for a few minutes then add water, turn down heat to low, simmer until celery root gets soft.
  5. Sprinkle fresh dill over fish, remove from heat, set aside.
  6. Remove soft celery root from heat, pureé with a hand held immersion blender, set aside.
  7. In a large measuring cup mix together, remaining ¼ cup white wine, coconut milk, egg, cheese and seasoning, pour into celery root mix and stir together
  8. Alternate putting all vegetables and fish mixture into a large casserole, pour celery root/coconut fluid over top and stir everything gently, it should be quite fluid. Cover and cook for an hour, or until the carrots and freekeh have softened.
  9. Remove from oven and place pie crust carefully over your pie in your desired pattern. Do NOT seal the edges, allow spaces for steam and fluids to be released, plus the dish is hot…so you’ll hurt yourself !
  10. Brush beaten egg onto pie crust, return to oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust has browned.
  11. Serve with a green salad and an “Arty attitude”. Enjoy!

Fish, to taste right, must swim three times – in water, in butter, and in wine. 

~Polish Proverb



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