This is basically a stew with mashed potatoes spread over the top. I call it Irish Scallop Pie because I adapted the recipe from one on a Web site dedicated to Irish Culture, however it would not be out of place on the dining table of any Celtic or Norman people including my own forebears. The bacon, onion, and cabbage were my additions to the original recipe; the bacon because it is wonderful with scallops, the onions because almost anything is better with onions, and the cabbage to add some healthy green to pie. Incidentally, using a thick stew as a pie filling is a good technique for your repertoire. Other examples include shepard’s pie, chicken pot pie, steak and kidney pie, and what my mother called “cowboy pie,” shepard’s pie with beef instead of lamb.
- 3 boiling potatoes, about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ pound bay scallops
- ½ cup water
- 2 ounces, about 2 slices, bacon cut into small dice
- ½ small onion, diced
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- ½ pound cabbage, about ½ medium head
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose or rice flour
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- Oil or butter as needed
Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for convection)
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, mash, and set aside.
Rinse the scallops and put into a small saucepan with the water. Bring to gentle boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, adding a minute or two if the scallops were frozen. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and set aside.
Cut the ½ cabbage into 4 pieces through the stem and remove the core. Cut each piece crosswise into 1-inch chunks. Set aside.
Film a saucepan with a bit of oil and render the bacon over medium heat. When there is enough fat in the pan to prevent from sticking, about 3 minutes, add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until softened then add the mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir until the mushrooms give up their liquid, about 5 minutes, adding a bit more oil or butter if needed. Add the cabbage and cook until it is soft, about another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir for a minute to coat. Pour in the sherry then add the reserved cooking liquid a bit at a time stirring to thicken between each addition. When the sauce has reached a nice consistency, add the cream and stir to combine. Finally stir in the scallops and cook for about a minute to warm through. Turn the filling into a lightly oiled 8-inch pie plate. Spread the mashed potatoes on top.
Bake until the top begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.