This fish chowder pie is something that I created in order to use some smoked trout that was hanging out in my fridge. After reading a handful of recipes for fish pie and cullen sink (Scottish fish chowder) I felt prepared to embark on my own take. Instead of using a pie crust or puff pastry for the lid, I decided to use the phyllo dough I had in the freezer. Fewer trips to the store, more cooking in the kitchen.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add leeks, potatoes and garlic, and turn the heat down so that the vegetables and garlic release some moisture but do not brown. Cook about five minutes until leeks begin to turn translucent. Remove leeks, potatoes and garlic and set aside.
Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Allow most of wine to evaporate and stir in milk, smoked trout, peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer gently for 7 minutes. Remove fish. Once cool enough to handle break trout into large flakes discarding bones and skin.
Strain the milk through a fine sieve and return the liquid to the pan. Add the potato-leek mixture, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are just cooked through. Strain the milk again, this time leaving the milk in a separate pan or bowl, and set the potato-leek mixture aside with the trout.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the pan. Add the flour and cook gently for 1 minute.
Gradually whisk in the milk and bring it back to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the smoked trout, leeks, potato and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a pie or casserole dish and chill for 1 hour or longer, overnight is fine.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Unroll defrosted roll of phyllo. Run a clean kitchen towel under water and wring it out. Use the towel to cover phyllo that is not being used so that it doesn’t dry out.
Take your fish chowder out of the fridge.
Melt the remaining butter (you can also use olive oil or even spray oil).
Brush one sheet of phyllo lightly with melted butter or oil and place over the chowder.
Do the same with the next piece, rotating it so that it overlaps the first piece. I just sort of throw them on there. Keep brushing then layering your phyllo like this to cover the top of your dish.
Repeat this process with about 10 sheets or half of the roll.
Cut an opening for steam to escape.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden and chowder is bubbling underneath. Start checking your pie around the 20 minute mark and cover loosely with foil if the phyllo is getting too brown.