Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon & Fish Pie

“The Baron launched into an enthusiastic recounting of the delights of River Run, and I took advantage of the lull to accept a small wedge of fish pie, full not only of fish, but of oysters and shrimps in a creamy sauce. Mr. Lillington had certainly spared no effort to impress the Governor.” ~Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Fish Pie


1/2 cup butter, plus additional for the baking dish

2 1/2 pounds (4 to 5 medium) yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces

1 garlic clove, quartered

3/4 cup whipping cream

8 ounces shredded aged cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 small onion, julienned

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 cups whole milk

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/2 cup white wine

3 cups assorted chopped vegetables (such as leeks, peas, carrots, corn, beans)

1 1/2 to 2 pounds assorted fish and seafood (such as cod, salmon, shrimp, oysters, and crab, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces)


  1. Move a rack to the middle rung and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish.
  2. In a large saucepan with 1 inch of salted water, place the potatoes and garlic. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat for a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and allow to steam-dry in the saucepan, off the heat, for 2 minutes. Mash until smooth and stir in 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup cream. Stir in the cheddar until melted, season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  3. While the potatoes cook, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour and mustard powder until smooth. Cook for 3 minutes, then slowly pour in the milk and remaining 1/2 cup cream, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Add the bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 7-10 minutes. Season with the dill, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  4. In a large frying pan or skillet, bring the wine to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables and fish, cover and cook steam until the vegetables are not quite tender and the fish is just opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain.
  5. Add the fish and vegetables to the prepared baking dish. Remove the bay leaves and pour on the cream sauce, folding it in gently among the fish and vegetables. Top with the mashed potatoes, using the tines of a fork to fluff up the potatoes with peaks and valleys. Set the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet to contain spillovers, and bake until golden and bubbling, about 45 minutes.
  6. Rest on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

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