top of page

Butternut Squash and Mackerel Pie

I made this pie as part of my food in film series. It's inspired by the pie which features in Kiki's Delivery Service although according to the interweb it's meant to be pumpkin and herring. Given these aren't as accessible I thought I would tweak it and make it butternut squash and mackerel which is a lot easier to source. I have to admit I did have a slight bit of trepidation given the flavours involved but I was VERY pleasantly surprised. I think this may actually be one of my favourite pies. It's bliss to eat and perfect for chilly days.

Serves 4

Hands-on Time 30 minutes

Cooking Time 110 minutes


1 Butternut squash

Olive oil

Fine salt

Black pepper

1 Onion

1 Garlic clove

75g Chestnut mushrooms

40g plus 2 knobs Butter

4 Mackerel fillets

50g plus extra for dusting Plain flour

400ml Milk

1/2 portion of rough puff pastry or 300g of ready made puff pastry

1 Egg

12 Black olives, pitted


Baking tray

Baking parchment


Chopping board


Frying pan

3 bowls

Potato masher

Oven-proof dish

Rolling pin

Small bowl

Pastry brush

Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C(Fan)/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Carefully peel and deseed a butternut squash. Cut the flesh up into 2 centimetre cubes.

Transfer the cubes onto the lined tray. Drizzle with a little oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Pop the tray into the oven on a middle shelf to bake for 60 minutes until tender and golden, turning half way through.

Whilst the squash cooks, peel, halve, and finely slice the onion. Thinly slice the garlic and mushrooms.

Place a pan over a medium heat. Add a glug of oil and knob of butter. When the butter has melted add the onion, season with salt, and cook for 4 minutes. Ensure you stir occasionally.

Add the garlic and continue to stir for a further minute.

Once the onion is soft transfer it into a bowl.

Pop the pan back over the heat, add more oil and another knob of butter followed by the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, again stirring occasionally.

Transfer the browned mushrooms into an empty bowl.

Place the pan back over the heat, this time only add a glug of oil. Add the mackerel fillets, skin side down, and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Both sides should be golden and crisp.

Transfer the fillets into clean bowl to cool. When they have cooled down enough to handle remove and discard or better yet eat the skin, and break up fish into flakes.

Clean the pan out and add 40 grams of butter and 50 grams of plain flour and stir. Keep stirring until the butter has melted and you are cooking a paste which starts to dry out a little. If it starts to brown turn down the heat to low. When a couple of minutes have passed add the milk and keep stirring. After 5 minutes of regular stirring you should have a thick sauce.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the flaked fish, add the mushrooms, and stir to coat.

The squash should have finished cooking at this point. Remove it from the oven and tip the squash into a clean bowl. Mash until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the mashed squash into the oven-proof dish and spread it out evenly.

Evenly distribute the chopped onion over the squash.

Finally spread the sauce covered fish and mushrooms over the onions.

Dust a clean area of worktop with flour and roll out the pastry so it’s big enough to top the dish and leave a little extra for decorating. Cut out the pastry to form the lid and place it onto of the sauce covered fish and mushrooms.

With the excess pastry you can either cut it out into a fish or cut out strips to make a lattice.

Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush the pastry lid to create a glaze and act as as a glue for the decorations. Decorate with the remaining pastry and brush any of these pieces with the beaten eggs.

Finally, dot the olives around the edge of the pie.

Place the dish into the oven on a middle shelf for 25 minutes.

When the time has passed the pie should be beautifully golden.

Remove from the oven and leave to sit for a couple of minutes before portioning up.



bottom of page