Cullen skink – Scottish Cuisine

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“Described as smokier and more assertive than American chowder, and heartier than the classic French bisque, Cullen skink is a traditional Scottish fish soup, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the north-east coast of Scotland. While this soup is often served as a starter at formal Scottish dinners, it’s also considered an everyday dish across the country’s north-east. Skink is actually an old Gaelic word for shin, but the Scots adapted the Russian recipe and used fish instead of beef. Local recipes have several slight variations, such as the use of milk instead of water, or the addition of cream – as I’ve done here. ” Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen’s United Kingdom


2 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
½ tsp sweet paprika
80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
½ brown onion, finely chopped
120 g peeled and finely diced potato
120 g peeled and finely diced sweet potato
250 ml (1 cup) full fat milk
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
250 g piece undyed smoked haddock, skinned
4 chives, thinly sliced
2 tbsp double cream, or to taste

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place the turmeric and paprika in a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the potato and the sweet potato and stir to combine well. Add the turmeric paste milk and stock, then season generously with salt and pepper. Nestle the fish into the soup, making sure it is covered with the liquid. Simmer gently for 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove the fish and set aside. Simmer the soup for another 5-6 minutes or until slightly thickened and the vegetables are cooked through.

Meanwhile, wipe the mortar and pestle clean, then add the chives and the remaining oil and pound until a lovely green puree forms.

Break the haddock back into the soup in large bite-size pieces. Gently stir in the cream and check the seasoning. Smoked haddock can be very salty, so be careful when adding the salt – you will only need a little. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with the chive oil and serve immediately.

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