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Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup Recipe

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    Cullen Skink - Scottish Fish Soup Recipe

    A video by Darren McGrady, former chef to the British Royal House, came up in my youtube feed the other day. He was making Cullen Skink which reminds me a bit of the chowders I've had in New England. This is an old Scottish rustic recipe with some saying it goes back to the 1640s. "Skink" is the Scottish word for a shin, knuckle, or hough of beef (the English word is "shank"). Skink became the name for a soup made with those. When beef was scarce people turned to fish, which was abundant, to make their soups but the name skink stuck. In America a skink is a type of lizard.

    Cullen Skink originated in the town of Cullen on the NE coast of Scotland. The fish used is Finnan Haddie, which is haddock cured with salt and sugar then cold smoked. Finnan Haddie is thought to have originated in or near the town of Findon (which is also called Finnan) but some sources say it originated in Findhorn. Finnan Haddie is served different ways but Cullen Skink is one of the most popular foods made with it.

    Darren gave a link to a U.S. supplier in Maine who makes Finnan Haddie but I can't justify paying $22 for one pound and $45 shipping. I decided to make my own. No one around here has haddock so I used wild caught cod. Haddock is a type of cod but has a bit bolder taste and a different texture. To make my Finnan Haddie (or should I call it Finnan Coddie?) I dry brined the cod overnight then rinsed and wet brined it for 2 hours. The wet brine method I used is from the Serious Eats website. I saw another site that both dry and wet brined so I chose to dry brine as well. I put the cod on a rack in the fridge to dry for 4 hours then smoked it on the KBQ.

    Recipe:

    Cullen Skink

    Source: Darren McGrady

    Serves 6

    The name of this rich, tasty soup comes from the fishing village of Cullen.

    One large smoked haddock (weighing around 2 lb)
    1 medium onion, finely chopped.
    1½ pints raw milk (you can use pasteurized)
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    8 oz diced peeled potatoes
    Salt and pepper
    Chopped parsley or chives

    Sauté the onion in the butter with a little salt in a shallow sauce pan until translucent. Stir in the raw milk. Add the smoked haddock, skin side down. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4/5 minutes, turning once. Take the haddock from the pan and remove the skin and bones. Break up the fish into flakes and set aside. Return the milk to the pan and add the potatoes. Cook until fork tender. Blend about a third of the potatoes with the liquid to thicken ( the more potatoes you add the thicker the soup will be) Stir in the flaked fish and reheat. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or chives.

    I forgot to take a picture of the cod when I took it off the smoker. Here is a picture of the cod after poaching in the milk. You can see the color imparted to the fish from the smoke.

    Click image for larger version

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    The fish added back into the pot after the potatoes were done cooking.

    Click image for larger version

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    Ready to eat. Yum!

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    Darren McGrady's video on yotube:

    Last edited by 58limited; June 13, 2021, 07:50 AM.

    #2
    What, no bacon? By the by, you know I read the instructions in a Scottish accent.
    Last edited by CaptainMike; June 12, 2021, 09:51 PM.

    Comment


    • CaptainMike
      CaptainMike commented
      Editing a comment
      See, I'm still your co-pilot...

    • 58limited
      58limited commented
      Editing a comment
      My mom was from near Boston so I grew up on clam chowder. This simple recipe is pretty much identical except for the smoked fish. We garnished the chowder (chowdah?) with oyster crackers and salt pork that was finely diced and cooked until crispy (mom started the chowder by sauteing the onions in the grease after browning the salt pork).

    • Argoboy
      Argoboy commented
      Editing a comment
      In Newfoundland (or the Rock to Newfie’s) they call the crispy bits of salt pork shruncions, they get them when they pan fry cod in salt pork.

    #3
    McDonald's the fine Scottish cuisine. How can anyone forget the McFish fillet or the McRib?

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      The Double Filet 'O Fish (not on most menus but they make it if you ask) is one of my weaknesses.

    #4
    Pics didn’t show up. 58limited

    Comment


      #5
      Anyone else having problems with the pics? I see them fine.

      Panhead John Try now, I deleted and re-uploaded them.
      Last edited by 58limited; June 13, 2021, 07:51 AM.

      Comment


      • gcdmd
        gcdmd commented
        Editing a comment
        Still not showing.

      • 58limited
        58limited commented
        Editing a comment
        gcdmd did you refresh your cache after the server migration the other day? I just looked at this page as a guest from a computer that I don't use for AR. I even turned on the VPN and set it to Brazil and the pics showed up. I did this because I was afraid that if I was logged in they might show for me and not for anyone else - that is what happened the first time.

      • gcdmd
        gcdmd commented
        Editing a comment
        I did, but only one flashes on the screen for a second and then goes away.

        raywjohnson Help
        Last edited by gcdmd; September 15, 2021, 05:23 AM.

      #6
      This is wonderful - thank you. I live a little south of Finnan and I make this soup with Arbroath smokies. It’s a very similarly smoked haddock but the cure is different. When I was a young boy - about a million years ago - I’d help my grandfather in Arbroath to gut the haddock and prepare them for smoking. The smell of those smoked fish is something that will never leave me. That smell was my gateway drug to BBQ.

      Comment


      • RonB
        RonB commented
        Editing a comment
        Welcome to The Pit.

      • 58limited
        58limited commented
        Editing a comment
        Welcome to The Pit! Thanks for the comment. I love cooking different recipes from around the world and I love feedback, tips, and suggestions.

      • tmaan235
        tmaan235 commented
        Editing a comment
        Andy, That drive is all you need smoke on!!

      #7
      It looks wonderful. Might have to try this next time I have a pile of pike.

      Comment


        #8
        Bloody Finn Haddie, my father loved this so called fish.
        We were forced to eat this every two weeks and kids it’s terrible.
        Someone serves this up and I’ll go look in the driveway for my meal.
        Sorry if I seem negative about this but I’m getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about it

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Don’t beat around the bush, damn man, it’s like pulling teeth to get your opinion. 😂

        • smokin fool
          smokin fool commented
          Editing a comment
          Thankfully my mother did both family trees, turned out both families were Irish not Scottish as we were lead to believe so Finn and Haddie got the old heave ho out the milk box door.
          And none to soon from my seat at the dinner table.
          On a positive note liquor consumption was allowed reach all new heights due to our new Irish heritage.
          .

        #9
        Whew, expected to see blue-tailed skinks strung all over a plate mash potatoes 🥔

        Comment


          #10
          I’m going to have to try this. I just came back with a load of fresh caught cod. Thanks

          Comment


            #11
            I think I'd better apologize to 58limited for dumping on the use of Finn Haddie his recipe.
            The old saying, if you have nothing good to say, say nothing, is so relevant here.
            Just because I don't like something doesn't mean I should try to influence other peoples opinions.
            The OP posted a recipe he spent time and effort to create and should be commended not panned.

            Comment


            • Panhead John
              Panhead John commented
              Editing a comment
              I can’t speak for 58, but we love you anyway big guy! One thing though, you should really learn how be more sensitive in your replies and try to be more in tune with other people’s feelings……like me. 😂
              Last edited by Panhead John; August 26, 2021, 02:02 PM.

            #12
            Saving this one. Might have to make it for my Scottish father in law sometime. Then again he may feel the same as smokin fool !

            Comment


              #13
              Wow, that looks and sounds amazing. Anything with heavy cream gets my vote.

              Comment


              • texastweeter
                texastweeter commented
                Editing a comment
                And butter taboot

              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                If you look at Darren's youtube video, the final dish looks to be swimming in butter. Ill have to add more next time.

              #14
              58limited I couldn’t find the wet brine that you used, could you help me out with ingredients? Also how long and at what temp did you smoke in KBQ? I would like to try this recipe with some fresh caught cod that I have. Thanks

              Comment


              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                "...make a brine by dissolving 60g (~2 oz.) salt and 30g (~1 oz.) sugar, along with 2 bay leaves and 15 whole black peppercorns, in 500ml (~17 fl. oz.) water over high heat. Remove from heat and add an additional 1500ml (~51 fl. oz.) cold water (you could also add 500g (~17 oz.) ice to chill the brine rapidly). Make sure brine has cooled fully; then add fish (skin on or off, as desired), and let soak, refrigerated..."

              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                On the KBQ, I bought this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

                This allowed me to "cold smoke" the fish (its 90 degrees here during the day so I didn't really do a true cold smoke). I froze the fish and put it in the KBQ on the top shelf, lit one end of the A-Maze-N smoker which I placed on the bottom shelf, and when the fish got to about 70-80 degrees after and hour or so I refroze, put back onto the KBQ, and repeated - three times.
                Last edited by 58limited; September 13, 2021, 07:10 PM.

              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                Here is another link that covers dry and wet brining: https://www.wikihow.com/Smoke-Haddock

              #15
              I wonder if it would work with catfish.

              Comment


              • Strat50
                Strat50 commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes. Very well in fact.Even the crappy farm raised stuff we get here in the 907 smokes well, so go for it!

              • texastweeter
                texastweeter commented
                Editing a comment
                Everything works well with rivercat!

              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                Yep, river cat is where its at.

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