Sussex Smokie is a traditional Sussex recipe which is thought to date back to the 1800s. I first came across it on a pub menu and loved it so much that I decided to make it at home.

Sussex Smokie has a fish base of smoked haddock. It’s cooked in a creamy, cheese sauce with a crispy breadcrumb topping. There are a few variations of the recipe like the addition of mustard or parsley. I add potato chunks to the sauce to make a filling main course. 

Scroll to the bottom for your Sussex Smokie recipe card

Living on the Sussex coast means we have a wonderful choice of fresh fish. I live near Hastings which has one of Europe’s oldest fishing fleets.  I love to shop locally and go to Hastings Old Town and head to the Stade for the freshest of fish which also has an incredibly low carbon footprint. Hastings fishermen also use sustainable fishing practises which you can read about here.

Hastings, East Sussex. A bit bohemian, incredibly artsy and brimming with quirk. Small enough to explore on foot with enough to keep you busy for a weekend.What to see and do in Hastings Old Town

I’ve adapted Sussex Smokie to our taste and it makes a great weekday supper which has become a firm favourite. You could also split it into ramekins and serve as a starter or with fresh crusty bread for a filling lunch.

It’s an easy recipe so play around until you find a version that ticks all your boxes. I add small potato chunks to the main course version of Sussex Smokie which helps with the family budget and makes the dish go further.

Potato chunks are also good if you plan to cook ahead and freeze your dish. If I freeze a fish pie with mashed potato on top I find it sinks into the fish sauce when it’s re-heated and ends up as a big sloppy mess. This doesn’t happen if you use small chunks of potato.

Sussex Smokie as a main course

Serves 4 as a main course

Ingredients

  • 250g smoked haddock
  • 1 large leek
  • 300ml milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 500g potatoes
  • 150g cheddar – Sussex Charmer works well
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 50g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 1 capful of white wine vinegar
  • 70g breadcrumbs

How to make Sussex Smokie

Smoked haddock

  • Peel the potatoes and chop into small cubes (around one square inch). Place in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for a few minutes until the potatoes begin to soften.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave to one side.
  • Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and season with a pinch of salt. Add the Bay leaf and bring to a simmer.

milk in saucepan for Sussex Smokie

  • Place the smoked haddock in the milk and cream (skin-side down) and gently poach 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the fish from the milk and set to one side. 
  • Finely chop the leek and sweat in 30g of the butter.

Sweating leeks in butter

  • In a separate pan, melt the rest of the butter and mix in the flour to make a thick paste which leaves the sides and base of pan cleanly. Cook out the taste of the flour for at least 2 minutes.
  • Add a quarter of the milk and allow to boil without stirring. 
  • Stir until smooth and then beat vigorously adding the rest of the milk bit by bit and beating well after each addition.
  • Add the white wine vinegar and parsley to the white sauce together with 100g of the cheddar. Stir until the cheese has melted.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Flake the haddock into the sauce and gently stir in the leek and potato. transfer to an oven proof dish.

Sussex Smokie recipe

  • Combine the breadcrumbs with the rest of the cheese and sprinkle over the top of the dish.

Sussex Smokie Recipe

  • Place in a preheated oven at 200 (180oc fan assisted) for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned.

Sussex Smokie with green beans

Serve with fresh green beans and a glass of Sussex wine. Rathfinny Vineyard produces excellent Sussex Sparkling.

Sussex Smokie Starter

If you want to make your Sussex Smokie as a starter omit the potatoes and bake in individual ramekins for 25-30 minutes.

Sussex Smokie Starter

Sussex Smokie with green beans
Yield: Serves 4

Sussex Smokie Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Sussex Smokie is a traditional Sussex fish dish with smoked haddock and cheese. It makes a warming main course, tasty starter or filling lunch.

Ingredients

  • 250g smoked haddock
  • 1 large leek
  • 300ml milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 500g potatoes
  • 150g cheddar – Sussex Charmer works well
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 50g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 1 capful of white wine vinegar
  • 70g breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop into small cubes (around one square inch). Place in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for a few minutes until the potatoes begin to soften.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave to one side.
  3. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and season with a pinch of salt. Add the Bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
  4. Place the smoked haddock in the milk and cream (skin-side down) and gently poach 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove the fish from the milk and set to one side. 
  6. Finely chop the leek and sweat in 30g of the butter.
  7. In a separate pan, melt the rest of the butter and mix in the flour to make a thick paste which leaves the sides and base of pan cleanly. Cook out the taste of the flour for at least 2 minutes.
  8. Add a quarter of the milk and allow to boil without stirring.
  9. Stir until smooth and then beat vigorously adding the rest of the milk bit by bit and beating well after each addition.
  10. Add the white wine vinegar and parsley to the white sauce together with 100g of the cheddar. Stir until the cheese has melted.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Flake the haddock and add to the sauce with the leek and potato. Mix gently and transfer into an oven proof dish.
  13. Combine the breadcrumbs with the rest of the cheese and sprinkle over the top of the dish.
  14. Place in a preheated oven at 200 (180oc fan assisted) for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned.

Notes

Serve with steamed green beans and glass of Sussex wine

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Have you tried Sussex Smokie? Which version do you prefer? 

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Sussex Smokie Recipe - traditional Sussex fish dish