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Scottish Cullen Skink – Creamy Fish Chowder

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina


Cullen Skink may sound funny by it’s name, but one bite of this hearty comfort soup from Scotland, and you’ll know why it is so famous.  Thick, delicately spiced, and chock full of tender fish, potatoes, leeks, and garlic.  And OH, it’s so EASY to make!  Say ‘goodbye’ to feeling cold during winter or freezing temperatures with this amazing soup!


  • 11/2 sticks of butter
  • 4 smoked haddock filets, either skinless/ boneless, or with skin still intact
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large leeks, diced, including the green leaves
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into equal-sized 1/4″ cubes
  • 11/2 teaspoons thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably “Turkish”
  • 1 bouquet garnis
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 11/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper, to taste after every addition to the soup base
  • a few drops of liquid smoke (optional)


  1. In a medium-sized stove pot, melt the butter, do not let it burn or change color.
  2. Add the chopped onions and garlic.  Saute’ for 5 minutes minutes until shiny and velvety looking.
  3. Add the chopped leeks, including the leaves, and cook for another 4 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped potatoes and cook for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are ‘almost’, but not ‘completely’ cooked through.
  5. Now place a medium-sized tall pot on the stove and add the milk.  Bring to a very low boil, keeping an eye on it and stirring so as not to burn.
  6. Add haddock to the hot milk to poach for no more than 4 minutes.  At the same time add the thyme, bay leaves, and bouquet garnis to marry with the milk and fish flavors.
  7. When poaching is finished, remove the haddock from the hot milk; place it in either a large bowl or a large plate, and allow it to cool.
  8. Once cooled, using your fingers, ‘flake’ the fish by pulling apart chunks of fish.
  9. When the potatoes are nearly done cooking, add the hot milk that you used to poach the fish.
  10. Add the chunks of smoked haddock.
  11. Add cream, chives, and Italian parsley.  (optional:  add a few drops of liquid smoke).  Bring to a soft boil and then serve immediately while piping hot!
  12. Buon Appetito!

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