Cullen skink, served with bread
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|Smoked haddock (finnan haddie), potatoes and onions|
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This soup is a local specialty, from the town of Cullen in Moray, on the north-east coast of Scotland. The soup is often served as a starter at formal Scottish dinners. Cullen skink is widely served as a part of an everyday dish across the North East of Scotland.
Local recipes for Cullen skink have several slight variations in the use of milk instead of water, addition of single cream and other such slight variations. Cullen skink was traditionally served with "breed" (bread) the old Scottish term for oatcakes.
It has been described as "smokier and more assertive than American chowder, heartier than classical French bisque". The name is partly (and indirectly) derived from Gaelic. The first element refers to the town of Cullen in Moray (a place name of Gaelic origin). The second element skink is a Scots word for a shin, knuckle or hough of beef which has developed the secondary meaning of a soup, especially one made from these. The word skink is ultimately derived from Middle Dutch schenke "shin, hough", (cognate with the archaic English word shank).
Cullen skink appears in many traditional Scottish cookery books and appears in numerous restaurants and hotel menus throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally.
- How to cook perfect cullen skink, Felicity Cloake in The Guardian, Thursday 5 January 2012
- Robinson, M. (ed) The Concise Scots Dictionary, Aberdeen University Press 1985