2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 celery stick, sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
200 ml (7 fl oz) fish stock
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
250 g (8 oz) pack cooked beetroot in natural juice, drained and sliced
1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and sliced
4 mackerel, about 200 g (7 oz) each, gutted. heads removed, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
6 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons chopped chives. plus extra to garnish


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, celery and carrot and fry for about 5 minutes or until softened.
2.Add the sugar, vinegar, stock, bay leaves, cloves and a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Arrange the beetroot in the base of the slow cooker pot, then top with the apple.
3.Slash the fish 2 or 3 times on each side, then arrange in a single layer on top of the apple.
4.Pour over the hot stock and vegetables, cover with the lid and cook on high for 1-2 hours or until the fish flakes easily when pressed in the centre with a knife.
5.When almost ready to serve, mix together the ingredients for the mustard cream in a small bowl and season to taste
6. Carefully transfer the fish, vegetables and some of the stock to shallow bowls, then garnish with chives. Serve with spoonfuls of the mustard cream and crusty sliced bread, if liked.
7.FOR BAKED MACKEREL WITH HOT POTATO SALAD, make up the recipe as above, omitting the beetroot.
8.When the fish is almost ready, cook 400 g (13 oz) scrubbed baby new potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes or until just tender.
9.Make the mustard cream as above and toss with the hot potatoes. Serve with the drained mackerel and sliced pickled cucumbers.

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