Hake casserole with shallots and wild mushrooms

This comforting autumnal dish from Jack Stein is a great way to celebrate Cornish hake from our online fishmongers. The accompanying sauce isn't shy or retiring in flavour, thanks to a rich base of red wine, chicken stock and dried porcini to bring an earthiness that all good dishes of the season have.

Ingredients to make hake casserole

Serves 4

- 4 x 175g unskinned hake fillets
- 100g wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 15g dried porcini mushrooms
- 90g unsalted butter
- 12 small shallots
- ½ tsp sugar
- 8 garlic cloves
- 900ml chicken stock
- 1 thick slice of cooked ham, diced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 50ml red wine
- Salt and freshly ground black


How to make Jack's casserole

1) Soak the dried porcini in 150ml warm water for 30 minutes.

2) Melt 25g of the butter in a shallow pan large enough to take the fillets of hake side by side.  Add the shallots, sugar and garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Barely cover with some of the chicken stock, add the ham, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, and simmer gently until both the shallots and garlic are tender.  Then turn up the heat and boil rapidly until the stock has reduced to a thick sticky glaze, shaking the pan now and then so that the onions and garlic become well coated. 
Remove them from the pan to a plate and keep warm.  Set the pan to one side, unwashed.

3) Melt another 25g of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add the carrot, leek, celery and onion and fry until nicely coloured.  Add the remaining chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, a sprig of thyme, the red wine and the soaking liquor from the dried
mushrooms and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Then strain through a fine sieve and discard all the vegetables.

4) Heat a small knob of butter in a frying pan. Add the hake fillets, skin-side down, and cook for about 1 minute until lightly browned.  Season with salt and pepper and put side-by-side in the pan used for glazing the shallots.  Pour over the stock, add the second thyme sprig, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the hake is cooked.

5) Meanwhile, melt another 15g the butter in the frying pan, add the soaked porcini and wild mushrooms and fry briskly for 2-3 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.

6) Remove the hake from the pan and keep warm. Boil the remaining liquid until reduced and well-flavoured, then whisk in the remaining butter.  Stir in the mushrooms.

7) Put the hake on to 4 warmed plates.  Add the glazed shallots and garlic, spoon over the sauce and serve.

Happy cooking.

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