Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cullen Skink

Last year when over in Scotland I had cullen skink, a smoked fish soup. The one in Edinburgh had a slightly more 'bisque-like' character and the one on Islay, a small island off the coast of Scotland where good whisky comes from, was 'hearty'. So I said 'when I get back to NZ I will learn how to make cullen skink... and I did.

The Ingredients

The recipe is simple:
  • 2x fillets smoked fish
  • 2x Potatoes
  • Onion and Leek
  • 300ml Water, twice
  • 250ml (1x cup) Milk
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

Putting it together

Of course I made it slightly more complex by smoking the fish myself, so here is the full thing.

Smoked Kahawai
When last in Christchurch I bought a stovetop smoker from Ballantynes. Using the apple sawdust I smoked two fillets of kahawai, gathered from the Hauraki Gulf on a previous fishing expedition. This could be done in any smoker obviously. Basic steps are
  • Defrost kahawai (did also try with travelli - good too).
  • Rub with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup of cooking salt.
  • Put in pan with 300ml cold water, leave 30 mins
  • Pat dry and smoke for 15 minutes at 90-100C
  • Transfer fish to pan with 300ml of new cold water plus a bay leaf.
  • Bring to the boil. Immediately take off heat. SAVE THE LIQUID.
  • Take off skin (if any), pull out bones, break into big chunks.
  • OK, fish is done.

Leeks and Onions
Sweat them down in the pan or pot you are making the soup in.

Clean but leave skin on. I used Agrias.
  • Clean, skin on
  • Cut into chunks
  • Add 1/4 to leeks and onion
  • Cook remaining potato and mash

Putting it all together
Now we put it together and cook it.
  • Add the liquid you boiled the fish in to the leeks/onions/potato
  • Cook until potato is cooked
  • Add milk, mashed potato, fish.
  • Stir and heat together
  • Serve with parsley

I'm not sure if this is exactly how they make it in Cullen, but it is a mighty fine soup, especially in winter.

The traditional fish is smoked haddock. The version above has a finely chopped carrot as well. Not sure its part of the recipe or not just yet :-)


Mark Prins said...

mm..sounds very good.. all that's missing is a beer matching recommendation!

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