Snoek cottage pie

Snoek cottage pie

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  • for the filling:
  • 1 lightly smoked snoek (about 500 g)
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 200 g brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 100 g fresh peas
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 35 g flour
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • for the topping:
  • 1 kg Woolworths Apache potatoes
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cooking Instructions


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1. To make the filling, drizzle the snoek with 1 T melted butter and the lemon juice. Grill until done (you can also braai it for an extra-smoky flavour). Set it aside to cool slightly. Flake the snoek and remove the bones and skin.

2. In a separate pan, sauté the garlic and onion in the remaining butter until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and peas and fry over a medium heat for 1 minute.

3. Whisk the milk, cream and flour together and add to the pan. Stir continually to make sure lumps don’t form. Simmer for 1 minute. Once the sauce is thick, add the flaked snoek and stir to combine. Season. If the mixture seems too thick, loosen it a bit with more milk. Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof casserole or serving dish.

4. To make the filling, peel and cut the potatoes into equal-sized cubes (this allows for even cooking). Cook the potatoes in about 1.5 litres of simmering water until tender.

5. Drain the potatoes through a sieve and place the sieve over a bowl. While the potatoes are still hot, use the back of a wooden spoon to push the potatoes through the sieve. This prevents lumpy mash.

6. Add the butter, chives and enough cream to make the mash soft but not runny. Season.

7. Scoop the mash onto the filling. You can grill it to get a nice golden and crispy top to your cottage pie or crack some pepper on top and top with breadcrumbs and serve immediately.

Cook's note: "When winter time came around every year we knew it was time for my dad’s cooking. He was the master of winter foods and one-pot wonders. Soups, stews, steamed bread and his beloved cottage pie. He also had a love for cooking with canned fish and he would make us a cottage pie using canned pilchards. I wasn’t a big fan of the canned fish pie so I’ve come to put a twist on it over the years and use snoek instead.

"The lovely thing with this recipe is that you can play around with the preparation of the snoek. Woolies’ lightly smoked braai snoek is quite versatile. It can be cooked in so many ways – on an open flame, in the oven or even on the stovetop. Served as an accompaniment to a bigger spread or even eaten as a meal on its own, cottage pie always looks amazing."

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Lesego Semenya Recipe by: Lesego Semenya
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The late, great Lesego Semenya aka Les da Chef was famous for his braai skills, devotion to heritage recipes and ingredients, and as a television host. He was the author of "Dijo: My food, my journey", a regular columnist for the TASTE magazine and host of TASTETube videos.

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