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Cullen Skink (Smoked haddock soup)

By January 24, 2017 , , ,

Cullen skink doesn't exactly sound like an appetising name for a dish. This is a traditional Scottish soup made with leeks, potatoes and smoked haddock and is very tasty indeed. It is a wonderful contrast between the sweetness of the leeks and the smokiness of the haddock. 

This is a great dish for burns night on the 25th of January. 

I like to smoke my own haddock fillets for this recipe as ready smoked haddock isn't easy to come by here in the Netherlands. The fish is cold smoked using my Thuros S1 tabletop smoking cabinet and cold smoke generator. I tend to smoke when the temperatures are lower than 15c and I keep my cabinet in a shaded area. So the cold smoking season for me starts in late October, early November and continues until March/April depending on temperatures. 
The haddock you get here in he Netherlands has relatively small fillets which tend to be quite thin, so they don't require very much curing and smoking time. You will need to give yourself 48 hours before you make the soup for the curing, smoking and finishing process for the fish.

Curing and smoking
I sprinkle the haddock fillets all over with fine table salt and allow to cure in the fridge for 30 minutes to one hour depending on the thickness.
Once the allotted time has passed I wash off the excess salt and pat the fillets dry with kitchen paper.
I place them back in the fridge on a cooling rack for 4 hours to air dry and form a pellicule.
My preferred woods for cold smoking haddock smoking are either beech or alder. 
Depending on the size of the fillets I cold smoke for roughly 3-5 hours.
I then place the fillets back in the fridge in an airtight container for 24 hours, this allows the smoke flavours to mellow and infuse.

200g smoked haddock fillets
100g potatoes sliced thinly
1 leek thinly sliced
2 shallots thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic sliced
20g butter
300ml milk
100ml water
200ml extra water 
20ml cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the haddock fillets in a pan with the water and milk and bring to the boil
Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
In a separate pan fry off the leeks, shallots and garlic in the butter on a low heat until they are soft and glossy
Add the potatoes and the 200ml of water and cook for 10 mins on a medium heat until a knife pierces the potatoes easily
Strain the water from the cooked haddock and add to the pan with the potatoes in
Place the haddock to one side 
Blend the leek and potato mix until smooth and add back to the pan
Lastly add the haddock fillets and stir so that they start to break up
Season to taste and add the cream before serving

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