Sunday, September 16, 2018

Smoked Fish, Leek and Potato Chowder (Scottish Cullen Skink) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I love a good chowder. Add smoked fish and I'm even happier. This Smoked Fish, Leek and Potato Chowder, known as Cullen Skink in Scotland, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a great example. I was able to find non-smoked haddock at Whole Foods and smoked white fish, so I combined the two, added a little liquid smoke into the mix, and made a few other changes--noted in red below.

River Cottage says, "A creamy smoked fish and potato soup, known in Scotland as cullen skink, rarely fails to be supremely soothing and comforting. This very simple but utterly delicious example can be knocked up in little more than half an hour.

Smoked Fish, Leek and Potato Chowder
Slightly Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Via
(Serves 4) 

300g (10.5 oz) smoked pollack or smoked haddock fillet (I used 1 lb haddock fillet + 1/2 lb smoked whitefish)
650ml (about 3 cups) fish or vegetable stock (I used 5 cups no-chicken veggie stock)
a large knob of butter
2 large leeks, trimmed, washed and finely sliced (I used 4 medium leeks)
500g (18 oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into 4–5mm cubes (about 1/2-3/4 inch)
4 Tbsp double cream (I used 1/2 cup coconut creamer)
(I added 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped parsley, to finish (optional)

Put the fish into a saucepan and add the stock. Bring slowly to the boil, then immediately turn off the heat, flip the fish over in the pan, cover and leave for 3 minutes. Turn the fish over again and check if it is cooked – the flesh should all be opaque and flake easily from the skin. If it’s not quite done, leave it in the covered pan for a couple of minutes longer. Once cooked, lift it out of the pan on to a board, reserving the stock. Take the fish off the skin in large flakes, checking for any bones as you go.

Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks and sweat gently for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes and reserved stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cream and flakes of smoked fish. Reheat gently, without boiling, then taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into warm bowls and finish with a scattering of parsley if you like. Serve at once, with brown bread and butter on the side.

River Cottage Notes: If you don’t have leeks, but you do have spring onions, or even regular onions, you can happily use them instead. Trim and slice a couple of good bunches of spring onions and sweat for 5 minutes only. Or finely slice 2 large onions and sweat for 12–15 minutes, until soft and tender.

Notes/Results: Just a yummy bowl of chowder--like potato-leek soup and fish chowder married together. I actually liked using the frozen haddock fillets with the smoked white fish as it gave a nice variation in texture. adding the liquid smoke meant I didn't lose any of the smoky flavor and the frozen haddock was more economical too--a win-win in my book. This chowder will make great lunches throughout the week. The only think I am missing as I am avoiding gluten, is some good bread to dunk in it. A tasty soup and pretty quick and easy to make, I would happily make it again. 

Linking this chowdery soup up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it's our Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge: Chilis & Chowders from any of our featured IHCC Chefs.

Here's a few links to my other favorite chowders and chilis (three of each) from our IHCC featured chefs:

Nigel Slater's Quick Fish and Corn Chowder:

 Rick Bayless's Lanie's "The World's Greatest Chili" 

Jacques Pépin's Corn and Hominy Chowder:

Mark Bittman's Espresso Black Bean Chili

Jacques Pépin's Tomato Chowder with Mollet Eggs

Giada's Vegetarian Chili Verde:

Lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:

Lovely Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared Potato, Corn and Mushroom Soup and said, "This past week it was clean-out-the-fridge time and the orphaned veggies found themselves dropped into a soup. Sometimes those kind of soups are the best - no recipes to follow, just chop and dice whatever yummy vegs you have on hand and go from there. (Another bonus for zero waste.) It made enough for two days lunches for us. Once Doug retires I will divvy  up the lunch fixings so he can heat some at home and I take some to work. Now that will be weird after eating lunch together for decades. More on that later."

My pal Kim of Stirring the Pot brings a unique chili and said, "Giada's Lentil and Hominy Chili is a vegetarian delight. The lentils really make this chili hearty and comforting, and the hominy, well, I just love that stuff. It's fragrant, it's chewy, it just pops in your mouth and it's just plain fun to eat. I have NO idea why it's not more popular. However, I do feel like what makes this chili are the toppings, especially the lime juice. The squeeze of lime really brightens things up and brings all the flavors together. The avocado adds a lovely creamy quality and the cilantro...well I just love that too.

Mahalo to Kim and Tina for joining in this week!
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Your soup looks wonderful. I love leeks and smoked fish, and wouldn’t have thought of this combination.

    Best... mae at

  2. I know I don't always participate in SSS, but when I do - I do enjoy participating and appreciate you hosting. Thanks Deb in Hawaii !

  3. I think I ran across a Cullen Skink reference in The Art of Inheriting Secrets (TLC Tour). Thanks for posting other soup recipes since it is now that time. I pinned the espresso chili!!


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