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Cullen Skink, Smoked Haddock Chowder

Cullen Skink (or Smoked Haddock Chowder)

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


  • 250g/about half a pound undyed smoked haddock
  • 350ml/1.4 cups whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 leek, sliced, not the very green parts, light green is fine
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut in very small cubes (about 1cm/half inch)
  • 100ml/just under half a cup single cream (about 18% fat)
  • half tsp non grainy mustard of your choice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boiled or poached eggs to serve
  • 12 tbsp of chopped fresh chives


  1. We’ll start with poaching the fish. Heat the milk in a shallow pan on medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Add the fish and poach for only 5 minutes, this short cooking time will ensure that the fish will retain its full, smoky flavour. Reduce the heat if it’s bubbling too much.
  3. At the end of 5 minutes, remove the fish immediately, set aside to keep warm and leave the milk as is to let the flavours of the bay and peppercorns infuse slightly more. Keep warm.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and sauté the leeks for 3 minutes, until soft.
  5. Add the potatoes and stir for a minute to allow them to soak up that butter and leek flavour a little. However, we do not want the potatoes to brown or crisp up.
  6. Strain the milk into the saucepan and bring back to simmering point, still on medium heat. Cook, uncovered, for about 10 -15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, the time will depend on the size of your cut potatoes. Don’t let the milk boil strongly, keep it at a simmer, lower the heat if you have to.
  7. In the meantime, let’s flake the fish into bitesized pieces, lose the skin.
  8. When the potatoes are done, add the cream and mustard, stir and bring back to a gentle simmer.
  9. Time to check seasoning. Add some salt, half a teaspoon ought to do, but again, you have to do this bit to taste. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, it adds depth, as does the mustard.
  10. Turn the heat off, place half the soup into a blender and blitz to a puree. Pour back into the saucepan.
  11. Add the flaked fish, mix, check seasoning again.
  12. At this point, if you like, turn the heat back on again and very quickly, heat through.
  13. Add the second tablespoon of butter and stir through. Again, this just adds depth to the flavour.
  14. Sprinkle with chives (and more pepper?) and serve with lots of buttered toast.
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: British