Cullen Skink

Cullen skink is a traditional Scottish soup, hailing from the town of Cullen in Moray, Scotland. This hearty and comforting dish is a perfect choice for a chilly evening, and it’s relatively easy to make. It typically features smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream, resulting in a rich and creamy chowder-like soup. I’ll guide you through the steps to prepare a delicious Cullen skink for four people.


  • 12 oz (340g) smoked haddock fillets
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups (480ml) fish or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. Preparation of Ingredients:
    • Start by gathering all the ingredients and equipment you’ll need.
    • Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic.
    • Peel and dice the potatoes into small, bite-sized pieces.
    • Heat the fish or vegetable broth in a separate pot, bringing it to a simmer.
  2. Poaching the Haddock:
    • In a large, deep skillet or pan, add the smoked haddock fillets and the bay leaf.
    • Pour the simmering broth over the haddock, ensuring it’s fully covered. Poaching the haddock in broth adds a depth of flavor to the soup.
    • Cover the skillet and let the fish poach for about 5-7 minutes or until the haddock is cooked through and flakes easily. The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets.
    • Once cooked, carefully remove the haddock from the skillet and set it aside. Discard the bay leaf. Allow the haddock to cool for a moment.
  3. Making the Soup Base:
    • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onions and minced garlic to the skillet. Sauté them until the onions become translucent and soft, which should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Potatoes and Broth:
    • Add the diced potatoes to the skillet, stirring them well to coat with the onion and garlic mixture.
    • Pour the fish or vegetable broth over the potatoes, ensuring they are covered. The broth should take on a lovely smoky flavor from the haddock.
    • Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Allow the potatoes to cook until they’re tender, which typically takes 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flaking the Haddock:
    • While the potatoes are cooking, use a fork to flake the poached haddock into bite-sized pieces. Be sure to remove any skin or bones.
  6. Combining the Elements:
    • Once the potatoes are tender, add the flaked haddock, milk, and heavy cream to the skillet. Stir everything together gently.
    • Let the soup simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remember that the smoked haddock adds a fair amount of saltiness, so be cautious with your salt.
  7. Serving:
    • Ladle the Cullen skink into serving bowls.
    • Garnish each bowl with freshly chopped parsley, which adds a burst of color and freshness.
    • Serve the soup hot with slices of crusty bread on the side. The bread is perfect for dunking into the creamy goodness of the Cullen skink.
  8. Enjoy:
    • Gather your friends and family around the table, and enjoy your homemade Cullen skink. It’s a comforting and hearty dish that’s sure to warm your hearts on a cold day

Revised recipe from October 27th, 2012

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