British soups revel in some very peculiar names, from cock-a-leekie to london particular, but perhaps none is more evocative than cullen skink, named after the fishing town on the Moray Firth and an old Scots word for a thin broth. Not that there’s anything thin about this version: packed with smoky haddock and soft, buttery vegetables, it’s the perfect winter warmer.
Prep 15 minCook 30 minServes 4-6
500g smoked haddock, skin on1 bay leaf1 onion1 leek1 knob butter2 medium floury potatoes500ml whole milkSalt and white pepperChives, chopped, to serve (optional)
1 Start with the fish
Put the fish into a pan large enough to hold it comfortably (cut it in half if it’s too long, but leave the skin on as that brings flavour with it). Cover with about 300ml cold water, add the bay leaf and then bring slowly to the boil over a medium-low heat.
2 Cook the fish
By the time the water boils, the fish should be just cooked – to test this, see if it breaks into flakes at its thickest part. If it’s not quite there yet, turn off the heat and leave it in the hot water for another minute or so. Otherwise, remove the fish from the pan and leave to cool – take the pan off the heat and reserve the cooking liquid.
3 Now for the alliums …
While the fish is cooking, peel and finely chop the onion. Trim and wash the leek, making sure you get any grit from between the layers, then cut it into chunks. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, then add the onion and leek, cover and sweat gently for about 10 minutes.
4 … and then the spuds