Cullen skink (Scottish smoked fish soup)

Cullen skinkCullen skink. It sounds like a particularly unpleasant sort of lizard. But actually, it’s a delicious Scottish soup, hearty enough for a one-pot meal, quick and easy enough for weeknight supper when your kid has swimming lessons after school and you’re going to a PTA meeting after dinner.

Cullen skink normally contains lots of butter, milk or cream, onions and/or leeks. My version is easier on the tummy – gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, low-FODMAP, and full of healthy fish oils. For those paleo folks who eat potatoes, it could be considered paleo. However, it is still full of flavour, none the worse for the missing ingredients.

Smoked haddock, chopped carrot and celeryCullen skink

  • Chopped smoked haddock300 g smoked haddock, preferably undyed, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled
  • 1.5 litres homemade fish broth or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste (keep in mind you may not need much as the smoked haddock will be salted)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Chives or parsley to garnish, optional
  1. Roughly mashed potatoRoughly mash the potatoes, leaving some chunkier bits of potato to help give your soup some texture. Some recipes say to use leftover mashed potatoes but this would in most cases add unnecessary milk and butter to the soup as well as leave out the chunkier bits of potato. If that’s OK with you, go for it.
  2. Bring the fish broth or water to the boil. Add all other ingredients except fish and bring to the boil again.
  3. Turn down to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add fish and stir for a minute or two more. Your cullen skink is ready!

Cullen skink in pot


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