Cullen Skink (Fish Stew)

To me, smoked salmon is a luxury item that I don’t get to enjoy all the time. I like it on a salad or just with cheese, crackers and a glass of wine. I like smoked salmon that is lightly smoked and melts in your mouth. I like to collect the skins and then make fish broth with it.

Today’s recipe is a soup called Cullen skink. Cullen skink is one of Scotland’s dishes, and is a hearty soup traditionally made with smoked haddock. I thought this could also be very tasty with smoked salmon including the skin. The soup will get its smokiness from the skin. If you don’t have extra salmon skin in your freezer, then you can add a 5 or 6 oz smoked salmon to your soup in the steps when you add salmon to your recipe.

Cullen skink is a Scottish soup made from smoked fish, potatoes, and onions. This soup came from the town of Cullen in Moray. There are several variations to this soup as some use water instead of milk or add cream. You can also mash the potatoes to make the soup thicker. This reminds me of American chowder but a bit smokier. Cullen skink is often served as a starter with bread.

Skink is a Scottish name for knuckle or shin (hough in Scottish), but has developed the secondary meaning of a soup. When economic times were tough, scraps of beef were unavailable and smoked Haddock was found everywhere. Meat-based stews were therefore made into fish-based stews, and the name skink stayed.

This soup is really hearty and delicious. Easy to make. I hope you give my version a try!



  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 4 (5 cup) large red or yellow potatoes, cooked, peeled and broken into bite sized chunks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 lbs. salmon ( 3 6 oz pieces)
  • 4 pieces smoked salmon skins or 1 small piece of smoked salmon
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced chives


Melt butter on a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, not brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so until raw garlic smells disappear. Add salt and pepper and stir.


Add milk and stir well. Add potatoes, salmon pieces, and smoked salmon skins. Stir gently and bring it to gentle boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes until salmon is cooked through. Remove the salmon and salmon skin from the milk with a slotted spatula to a plate. Add cream and stir. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.


Flake salmon into meaty chunks, discard the skin or any bones. Add the fish to the soup.

Add chives to the soup, gently stir, then turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning. Transfer the soup to a serving dish and serve with some crusty bread.


Serves 4-6

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram.

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