This is one of my favorite dishes and favorite recipes ever. I just made it tonight so I thought I'd share it.

The Story Behind It
The story goes that Opa, my German grandfather, learned this recipe while a soldier in the Kaiser's army in WWI. He was drafted at around 16 and served for a year or two until he took some gas, which fortunately didn't maim him for life but did get him out of the war. Anyway, later on, when he got married, this is what he would cook when his wife, who normally did all the cooking, was out of town or sick. My mom loved this stuff as a kid and then years later, when she had her own kids, she made this too -- especially during camping trips. Because there are no fresh ingredients and it can be made with instant potatoes, it's perfect for camping. It doesn't -look- pretty but practically everybody loves it.

Pic!
2009
I know it looks unappetizing but it's good, I swear!

Ingredients
I make it using these ingredients. None of it is very exact and you can substitute real potatoes for fake of course.

1 box (1 lb.)  instant mashed potatoes
for instant  mashed potatoes: milk, butter/margarine, salt, water, as directed on package
1 small can (1 cup) plain tomato sauce
1 can corned beef
1 bottle (1 1/2 cup) sweet gherkins (pickles), chopped
sweet gherkin -juice-

Directions
1) Make the mashed potatoes.
2) Stir in the tomato sauce.
3) Crumble in the corned beef and stir. Leaving it kind of lumpy is OK.
4) Chop up all the gherkins (save the juice) and stir in.
5) Stir in gherkin juice to taste. (I usually use -all- of it.)

Tada!

Tips
Salt, pepper and/or ketchup can be added.
yakalskovich: (Reality is a rotten place to be)
This is a bit of a rule-of-thumb sort of recipe that I learned from Rita, the lady I stayed with in East Wittering, during my not-quite-year in England, 1986-87; precise measures are utterly lacking.-

You must have all of these:

  • fish fillet, fresh or frozen; I had salmon and tuna, but any white fish will do just as well as that colourful stuff
  • mixed vegetables; I was lazy and took a package of frozen 'Buttergem├╝se' that you get anywhere in Germany; in Finland I would have used herne-maissi-paprika, and so on. If you're very conscientious, you prepare fresh vegetables, and in that case, I would use mushrooms, leeks and carrots, as Rita used to.
  • white sauce; you can make it from scratch (Rita used to), heating butter, adding flower, making a 'butterball', then dissolving that with milk: - but I used the stuff from a packeage, just using milk instead of water. A bit of white pepper and a tiny tiny bit of nutmeg is good in either case.
  • mashed potatoes; cooking the potatoes with ground artichokes for the sake of taste, and mashing them up along with the potatoes is something Rita used to do as well. I happened to have that sort of mashed potatoes from our Thanksgiving dinner, which had reminded me of Rita and her excellent cooking, and so I thought of the fish pie, actually

What you do with them:

  • fish goes on the bottom of a oven-proof casserole type dish, with a bit of salt and white pepper if you want to; then the vegetables follow, then all that gets smothered in the white sauce.
  • cover the whole with a solid layer of the mashed potatoes; best smooth it down witha  spatula to make sure the stuff underneath is completely covered.
  • you can then rough up the top a bit, or sprinkle a bit of grated cheese, butter, or breadcrumbs for the sake of crustiness
  • the whole thing goes into the oven at not too hot (180┬░ C) for an hour -- which is the rule for any casseroles and gratins anyway, it seems, no matter of what, and how much there is of it. Seems to be a basic axiom of life, just like the thing with the drunks and nutcases always knowing when to get off the train or bus.

Enjoy!

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