Cullen Skink which is a hearty soup and traditionally made with smoked haddock, and for me a great way to use smoked fish. The name of this soup originates from Cullen, a small town in North East of Scotland and also the home of this soup, one of Scotland's most famous dishes.
In this version of the famous recipe, mashed potatoes are stirred into the soup creating thickness and flavor. In some recipes, however, instead of mash, scrubbed, new potatoes or potato chunks are added. The best potatoes for this would be waxier rather than the ones used for mash and Jersey Royals work very well.
This Cullen Skink recipe is also known as Smoked Haddock Chowder in other parts of Britain as the recipe really is very similar.
- 1¼ pints (700 ml) milk
- Small handful flat leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1lb (450g) undyed, smoked haddock fillet
- 2 oz (55g) butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 8 oz (250g) mashed potato, leftover or cooked fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour the milk into a large, roomy saucepan. Remove the leaves from the parsley and add the stalks to the milk. Finely chop the leaves and keep to one side. Add the bay leaf and the haddock to the milk.
- Bring the milk to a gentle boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave for 5 minutes for the herbs to infuse their flavor into the milk.
- Remove the haddock from the milk with a slotted spoon and put to one side. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve the herb-infused milk.
- Heat the butter in another, smaller saucepan. Add the onions and cook gently until translucent taking about 5 mins, be careful not to burn them.
- Add the milk to the onions, then add the potato and stir until incorporated and a thick, creamy consistency.
- Flake the smoked haddock into meaty chunks taking care to remove any bones you may find. Add to the soup.
- Add the chopped parsley leaves to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 4 - 5 minutes. Do not over stir. If over stirred then you will break up the fish too much.
- Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed, be careful with the salt, the fish will impart quite a salty flavor all on its own.
- Serve hot with crusty bread.
Garnish the soup with more chopped parsley or a little extra pepper as is your taste. Sometimes Cullen Skink is served with a softly poached hen's egg on top for an even more, filling soup or lightly poached quails eggs dropped into the soup before serving adds a touch of sophistication if you are serving the soup on a more formal occasion.
You can also add a cup of cooked or warmed, canned sweet corn before serving but this is not usual for a traditional for Cullen Skink, but occasionally it is fun to ring the changes.