Cullen Skink – (Smoked Haddock Chowder)

This entry is filed under Soup Recipes.


Winter Warmer To Wallow In

A deeply comforting, wholesome soup guaranteed to leave a lasting memory in your mouth, Cullen Skink is the perfect foil to a cold January day and a definite highlight of the winter season.

Cullen skink, weird name, wonderful taste, is a milk-based soup traditionally made using Finnan haddock, potatoes and onions – so in other words, what you’re looking at here is a fish chowder.

Originating from the fishing town of Cullen on Scotland’s north east coast, where it’s a local specialty, word has spread far and wide. Consequently, you’ll find this mighty fine chowder making appearances on menus throughout Scotland and the UK. 

Not surprisingly, it’s easy to be greedy and slurp down huge steaming bowlfuls of this fabulously hearty soup…

One to try, even if you don’t normally like chowder or creamy soups!
I appreciate chowder may conjure up a dark, distant memory of a revoltingly thick and claggy, tasteless soup you once had to endure, but I promise you won’t get that here!

What you will get, is a light, creamy, flavoursome broth scattered with finely chopped tomato and parsley in amongst the haddock flakes – making it totally irresistible.

N.B: Vegetarian Option:
Substitute the fish with sweetcorn, sweat 2 cloves of garlic along with the onions and replace the fish stock with Knorr liquid vegetable stock.

Serving Size: 4 starters or 2 mains
Preparation & Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Effort Level: Easy
Shelf Life: 2 days in fridge. 3 months in the freezer

600g smoked haddock fillets (preferably un-dyed)
2 tbsp Knorr concentrated liquid fish stock
2 large tomatoes
1 large potato – 450g
1 medium onion
10g parsley leaves
1 bay leaf
500ml semi skimmed milk
500ml water
40g butter
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Chopping board and sharp knife
Liquidiser or blender stick
Measuring jug
Wide frying pan
Large saucepan
Cheese box grater

Here’s What You Do:
Feel along the haddock fillets and remove any bones. If necessary cut the fillets to fit the saucepan then pour over the milk. Add 1 bay leaf and the Knorr liquid fish stock then place over a medium heat and bring up to the boil.

Meanwhile, place the butter in the frying pan over a low heat. Peel and finely dice the onion then stir into the melted butter coating it well and leave to fry gently.

When the milk comes up to the boil, take the pan off the heat and put aside, leaving the fish to cook through and infuse it with flavour.

Now peel a large potato then run it over the blades found on the side of a cheese grater. Otherwise slice very thinly before tipping them onto the onions. Add the cayenne and stir everything well.

Next, boil 500ml water in the kettle then pour over the potatoes and increase to a high heat. Now add the milk stock pouring it through a sieve and leave the potatoes to boil for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley leaves and put aside.

Peel the skin off the tomatoes, de-seed and chop the flesh into small dice and add to the parsley.

Check the potatoes, once they’re cooked, blitz the mix until smooth using a blender stick or liquidize and return to the saucepan.

Remove the fish skin from the fillets and roughly flake the flesh and tip into the saucepan along with the diced tomato and chopped parsley.

Return the pan to a medium heat and warm through.

Serve piping hot in warmed bowls with crusty bread.

 Och Ay The Noo!

13 Responses to “Cullen Skink – (Smoked Haddock Chowder)”

  1. This excellent website really has all of the information I needed about this subject
    and didn’t know who to ask.

  2. Joel says:

    I grew up with my mother making this at least once a month. It was delisious. Very few people know what it is so living in a retirement community (It kind of gives away my age) I was going to make it for our next neighborhood social

  3. June says:

    Hello Uma! Your website is stunning as are the recipes. I’m so glad I foudn you, (actually you were recommended) anyway I made the soup last weekend and it really was quite delicious Many thanks! PS I’ve signed up for your recipe club. looking forward to trying the creamy peanut chicken dish.

  4. Wendy says:

    Well the snow has gone but the rain is bleaching down… this is JUST what we need. I am so looking forward to making this.. I can just imagine how delicious it will be! Thanks Uma!

  5. Russell says:

    Should be called Cullen Stink!

    Tasted very nice, but the smell of smoked fish was a bit overpowering in my small flat!!!

  6. Maria says:

    I liked the soudn of your recipe and made it last night and was very good and easy to do. Thanks

  7. Lorna Cook says:

    Can’t wait to try this, off to get the ingredients now the snows thawed.

  8. Tracy Short says:

    I’m loving the website Uma! We just made your soup, its so good and amazingly filling, I didn’t need anything else afrerwards,

  9. Greta says:

    Thumbs up all round. Thanks Uma! Clever tip about slicing the potatoes on a cheese grater. So simple and quick, why didn’t I think of that!

  10. Susan Robson says:

    Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh – Luverly

  11. Janice says:

    I love smoked fish and Cullen Skink is a real treat, however ordinary smoked haddock comes nowhere near the taste of an Arbroath Smokie, the one which is hot smoked closed rather than in fillets. I come from the east coast of Scotland but now live in the west and you just don’t get fresh enough smokies over here. When I visit my mum I always ask her to get some, just split them open dot with butter and heat under the grill till the butter melts -heaven on a plate!

  12. paul says:

    I knocked up the Dauphinois potatoes lasy weekend with a joint of Lamb and it turned out brill, i was well in the good books but to fat to do anything about it, nice one uma.

  13. Ginger says:

    Oh yum! I am definitely going to try this with the corn!!

    I love chowders & cream soups as well, my two favorites in that last being wild mushroom & the other is cream of asparagus. But I recall as a little kid my grandmother used to make what she called ‘poached Finnan Haddie’ & I loved it. The recipe supposedly coming from Ireland.

    She would lay the Haddock on the bottom of a shallow pan, pour over milk & a big dollop of butter, cover & poach the fish that way.

    Also never having seen the name written out, I thought I was eating “Fin and Hattie” & wondered whose hattie we were eating.

    What can I tell you? Weird kid.

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