Tonight is Burns' night so it seems only fitting that today's blog should be a Scottish recipe. Cullen skink is a soup made from smoked haddock with a lovely rich flavour. It is simple to make and you can have a bowl on the table in about 30 minutes with very little hands-on time leaving you free to get on with celebrating Scotland's national poet.
I was given this recipe for Cullen Skink – Skink means broth – many years ago by a lovely lady called Anita Steffan who ran a B&B in Perthshire and I have made it many times since. Many recipes for this soup add potatoes and/or leeks and in some cases even white wine, but this is the simpliest of all. It never fails to surprise me just how much flavour you can get from so few ingredients: smoked haddock; onion; milk; and mustard. To get the smoothest results you will need to blitz the soup in a liquidizer. If serving it as a starter for a dinner party I would certainly do that, but for a mid week meal I find a hand held blender works just fine. You could add some sweetcorn to the soup to make it a little more substantial if you wanted. Although it wouldn't be very Scottish then, that should not put you off.
Burns Night is an annual celebration in Scotland on or around January 25th commemorating the life of the poet Robert Burns, who was born on 25th January, 1759. The day also celebrates Roberts Burn's contribution to Scottish culture. Read more on the official Robert Burns website.
Step by step Cullen Skink – Smoked haddock soup
- 50 g butter
- 1 large onion chopped
- 500 g smoked haddock fillets skinned
- 500 ml milk
- 200 ml water
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- alt and freshly ground black pepper
- fresh herbs to garnish optional
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the onion gently until softened.
- Add about half of the haddock to the pan with the milk, water and mustard and bring almost to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Blitz in a food processor or with hand blender until smooth. Season to taste.
- Add the remaining fillets to the pan and cook gently until the fish is piping hot and flakes easily with the side of the spoon.
- Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs if desired
For up to 2 months