Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cullen Skink

Though I sampled the local specialties of Haggis and Black Pudding while in Scotland and ate so much salmon that it came out my ears, it was the chowder-like soup called Cullen Skink that all three of us loved and ordered over and over again.


A creamy soup made from smoked haddock and potatoes, it was on almost every menu.

Whether at a pub, a road-side rest stop or the café at the Kelvingrove Art Museum, we found ourselves enjoying it for lunch or snack quite often.



We grew quite fond of it despite its funny and unfortunate name, skink being too close to "stink" and the slang term of "skank" here in the U.S.

The first part of the name comes from the Northern fishing village of Cullen where the main ingredient, Finnan Haddie (haddock smoked using green wood and peat), was made.   The second part of the name "skink" isn't as easy to track down and theories abound.

After coming home, we were eager to find a good recipe and re-create this Scottish chowder to share with friends and family.

First we found this article in The Guardian which compared methods of preparing the soup.  It seemed that the secret to a good skink was poaching the smoked haddock and using the resulting liquid as the base for the soup.



Though we found lots of cooked smoked fish, it was harder to find uncooked Finnan Haddie.  We couldn't find it anywhere locally and were starting to give up until our Scottish friend Evelyn turned us on to this online source.

Haddie in hand...



Jimmy set out to make a batch of Cullen Skink to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering that we had this past weekend.



It's a simple recipe...fish, leeks, potatoes and milk...



Jim is the chef in our house and loves nothing better than chopping and preparing food.  He finds it relaxing.

I find it relaxing too since he's doing it and not me!!  We're a match made in heaven.



The soup turned out just as we hoped but the family results were mixed.

All of the adults loved it; but the kids?

Well, even before tasting it there was...

"There's FISH (with wrinkled-up nose, disgusted-face looks) in this soup?  oh......."


And after tasting it...

"It's pretty good considering it has fish in it."

Let's just say, there were lots of left-overs in the kids' bowls for parents to enjoy.

Happy Soup Days to all of you.

17 comments:

Rachel said...

I suspect that every bowl you had while you were in Scotland was slightly different, too?

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

The soup sounds delicious and Jim looks quite the chef.

Have a wonderful week ~ FlowerLady

Mary Ann said...

I have a recipe for it from an old cook book. I don't mind it but some other family members refuse to even taste it. I guess the fish ingredient doesn't appeal to everyone.

Amanda said...

Why they would call this soup a "skink" arouses my curiosity as well, as skinks are a member of the lizard family, and the flesh of the some of them, such as the broad-headed skink, which lives in the American south, is poisonous. As near as I can tell, this soup is the only skink in the entire UK. I guess this goes on that growing list of things that make me go hmmmm....

Melody said...

how very odd you post this.... I was just given a piece of smoked haddock ~ and tried it last night for the first time! it got mixed reviews with the ADULTS. ha ha ~
Perhaps smoky flavored fish is an acquired taste? Wish I could try your chef prepared version...
I agree it's always better to craft than cook.... :(

FLOWER FRIEND said...

Coming from 3 generations of fishmongers finann haddock was always around when I was younger so I have a great taste for it. Cullen Skink is delicious and a warming soup to have at this time of year and so easy to make.It is an acquired taste and like Marmite you either love it or hate it.Glad you like it.

RuthB said...

Dang it now I'm starving!

Looks soooo yummy, but not as yummy as your stitching :)

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Home made food of any kind, well, almost, is good in my opinion!

I will NOT eat liver.

Lisa said...

Cullen Skink was one of my favorite dishes in Great Britain as well! I'm going to have to check out your online source for the smoked haddock as I haven't found a local source here either!

Catherine said...

I'm sure my boys would react the same way. But me, I would definitely give it a try!!

Createology said...

Looks yummy and sounds like chowder. I can honestly say I have never eaten Cullen Skink. Yes, how very lucky that your husband likes to cook. It isn't my favorite because it is labor intensive and then gone in about ten minutes. Thankless job I say. Loving your stitching on the journal band. Creative Bliss Dear...

margaret said...

well I might live in the UK but have to own up to never having tried this soup and my MIL was Scottish but she never made it to my knowledge.Having worked both in Glasgow and Edinburgh did not come across it on menu`s in the hotels we stayed at. sounds very tasty

Rebecca said...

I thought of Twilight lizards when I saw the title of this post, even though that didn't make any sense (and I've never read nor watched Twilight). We will have to try this soup - my husband and I share the cooking duties and are always up for a new adventure!

Allison Aller said...

Jim looks WONDERFUL in his chef uniform!

Amy Taylor said...

I was in Maine this fall and enjoyed the fish chowder made with fresh haddock, every chance I got! Definitely would give this a try and compare the two. Thank you for sharing your travels!

Kathy Gill-Hopple said...

Soup sounds yummy!! What lettering styles did you use, or did you design your own. The "standing stones" letters are very striking.

Susan Elliott said...

Hi Kathy...google doesn't have your email address so hopefully you'll check back here. I'm using lettering books I purchased a few years back from my local needlework store. You can see them on this post here...
http://plays-with-needles.blogspot.com/2013/10/tha-gaol-agam-air-obar-greis.html

Related Posts with Thumbnails