Cullen skink recipe

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Full-flavoured, rustic, wholesome, and satisfyingly creamy. Cullen Skink is a classic Scottish dish and quite possibly the world’s finest fish soup. Don’t let the name put you off!

  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 45 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes


  • 1 lb  (500 g) smoked haddock (un-dyed) skin on
  • 1 x bay leaf
  • Tbsp of butter
  • 1 mild onion peeled and finely chopped (optional)
  • I x 25 mm (1”) chunk of fresh peeled ginger, finely diced
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 25 mm (1”) chunks
  • 500 ml (1 pint) whole milk
  • Chives, chopped, to serve (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Put the fish into a saucepan big enough to hold it with space to spare and cover with about 300ml (½ pint) cold water. Add the bay leaf and bring gently to the boil. By this time the fish should just be cooked – if not, then boil for another minute or more. Transfer from the pan into a dish to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, take the pan off the heat.  Melt the butter in another pan on a low heat and add the optional onion or ginger. Cover on a low heat and sweat, without colouring for about 10 minutes until soft. Season to taste with freshly ground salt and black pepper.
  3. Now add the potato and fold in to coat with butter. Then add in the haddock cooking juice and bay leaf and simmer. Cook until the potato is tender (don’t overcook the potato as it will turn to mush).
  4. Meanwhile, remove the skin and bones from the haddock, and break into flakes.
  5. Lift out a generous spoonful of potatoes and leeks, drain and set aside. Discard the bay leaf.
  6. Next, add the milk and half the haddock to the saucepan, and blend until smooth.
  7. Season to taste, and serve with a generous spoonful of the potato, leek and haddock mixture in each bowl, and a sprinkling of optional chives.

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