HEATHER’S FATHER-IN-LAW’S CULLEN SKINK
(serves 2 – best to double-up on ingredients for this one, as one bowl each is never enough!)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
400g potatoes (200g per portion of soup), peeled and cubed.
280g pale smoked haddock (approximately 2 fillets – 1 fillet per portion of soup) (Pale smoked is best, opposed to bright yellow/orange dyed fish)
300ml whole milk (whole milk is much better than semi-skimmed or skimmed and means a creamier, thicker soup)
300ml boiling water
Parsley to garnish (if you’re feeling fancy)
Optional – Fish stock cube (depending on how ‘fishy’ you want the soup to taste)
As an alternative to using water, just increase the amount of milk! Some cooks like a combination of milk & water, some use just milk. It’s all personal preference.
- Put the milk and smoked haddock (skin side up) into a cold pan and allow it to sit. The milk should cover the whole fish. Don’t turn the heat on yet! This will allow the milk to absorb the flavour of the fish.
- Finely chop the onion. Peel and cube the potatoes. The potatoes should be about an inch or so in size.
- Heat your 2nd pan. Add the butter and onion and fry for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft but not brown.
Add the potatoes for a minute, before pouring in 300ml of boiling water. It should cover the potatoes and onions.
Cover and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes or so until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Heat the milk and haddock gradually. You’ll want a low heat so the milk doesn’t burn (this can also work well in the microwave, though it might make your microwave a bit whiffy afterwards!).
You’ll need to move the milk around every now and then to stop it from sticking to the pan/dish. If heating in the pan it will take about 5 minutes or so for the milk to heat up.
Cook the fish in the milk for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove the smoked haddock from the milk with a slotted spoon.
Turn the heat off and keep the milk to one side.
Allow the fish to cool slightly so you can remove any skin or bones and discard them. The skin should easily peel off the back of a fish with a little help from a knife if necessary.
Use a fork to separate the smoked haddock into large chunks.
- Take a masher and mash about a quarter of the potatoes in the pan (roughly). You don’t want to mash too much, and it doesn’t need to be perfect. This will just help to thicken up the soup.
- Add the milk to the pan of potatoes and onions and stir for a couple of minutes to combine. It’s important that you bring them to the same temperature and keep stirring so that you don’t have an oily layer in the soup.
- Add the fish to the pan and stir gently through.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Adding a little chopped parsley can give an extra hint of flavour too. If you like the soup a bit ‘fishier’, adding a bit of fish stock can help intensify the flavour. Add cream as well if you want a richer, creamier soup.