How to make Cullen Skink
The latest in our “How To Make” series from our Community Chef Iain is Cullen Skink. Iain will take you through the recipes step by step with some photos to guide you.
Cullen Skink is a thick creamy soup made with smoked haddock, leeks and potatoes. There are many variations of this classic and this is my one. This dish also works very well as a base to other dishes such as smoked haddock risotto or adding prawns and salmon (or any other seafood you like) to make more of a seafood chowder.
The key stage in making this dish is to infuse the milk well with the smoky flavour and not overcooking the fish. I recommend using undyed smoked haddock as the yellow coloured fish is usually an artificial smoke dye applied to give the smoked flavour.
To infuse the milk put the haddock in a pot with enough room to cover with semi-skimmed milk (lower fat content reduces the risk of the milk splitting) you can add other flavours to infuse at this stage bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme work well. Put the pot on a low heat checking the heat of the milk after 10 minutes, the milk should be hot but not simmering. At this stage take off the heat and leave to cool a little. You want to use the milk to make the soup so use a colander in a large bowl to separate the fish and the milk.
- Smoked Haddock 250g
- Onion 2 large
- Celery 4 Sticks
- Leeks 2 Leeks
- Baby Potatoes 300g
- Semi Skimmed Milk Approx 1 litre depending on how thick you want the soup
- Butter 50g
- Plain Flour 80g
- Bay Leaves, Thyme, Peppercorns (not essential but does add depth of flavour)
1. Infuse the milk with the smoked haddock and herbs (as described above).
2. Cook the baby potatoes and when cooked, cool then leave sitting in a colander for later.
3. Finely dice the celery – Celery takes longer to cook than the onions so it is important to try and dice the celery as fine as possible then dice onions and slice the leeks. Separate the dark green part of the leek from the white part.
4. On a medium heat sweat, the white leeks, onion and celery in the butter stirring occasionally. Try not to let the onions colour so keep an eye on the heat.
5. When the vegetables have softened add the flour and combine well on LOW heat.
6. Increase the heat to medium/high and add the infused milk gradually ensuring that milk is incorporated before adding more (you may not need all the milk, depends how thick you want it).
7. When happy with the consistency add the diced cooked potato and smoked haddock and gently fold in.
8. Finally, add the green part of the leeks and cook on medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes making sure not sticking to the pan.
9. Taste for seasoning.
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