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Theo Randall's kippers cullen skink

Theo Randall / 25 February 2016

Michelin-starred chef Theo Randall shares his take on the traditional Scottish soup cullen skink, usually made with smoked haddock.

Theo Randall's kippers cullen skink
Theo Randall's kippers cullen skink

Cooking time

30 minutes




  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 300g potatoes, peeled and cut into
  • 2cm pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600ml milk
  • 1 whole kipper, preferably a Craster kipper, filleted and skinned
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground
  • Black pepper


Cullen skink soup is traditionally made with smoked haddock but I find the sweet taste of kipper to be better. Ask your fishmonger to fillet and skin the kipper, or do this yourself, but take care when removing the pinbones to be sure you get them all. I find that warming the kipper first makes the bones come out more easily.

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 for lunch.

1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and cook until softened.

2. Add the potatoes, bay leaf and milk. Bring just to the boil, then simmer for 10–15 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

3. Meanwhile, check the kipper fillets for pinbones and remove any with tweezers, then flake the fillets into pieces. Add most of the kipper pieces to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.

4. Blitz the soup roughly with a hand blender, then stir in the cream and most of the chopped parsley. Reheat if necessary and serve hot, garnished with the remaining kipper pieces and parsley.

This is an edited extract from My Simple Italian by Theo Randall (Ebury Press, £25).

Visit our Soup and stew recipes section for more delicious meal ideas


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.