- 100ml Scotch whisky (optional)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 200g button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 large pinches curry powder
- 1 pinch saffron
- 600ml whole milk
- 900g sustainable smoked haddock fillet (preferably oak-smoked), skinned and cut into 2cm cubes
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Squeeze lemon juice, plus extra to serve
For the garnish
- 80g spinach, chopped
- 100g smoked haddock fillet (as above), cut into small cubes
- A few fresh coriander stalks, leaves finely chopped
- Finely chopped fresh chives
- Boil the whisky in a small pan for 30 seconds. If you’re using a gas flame, carefully tip the pan so the whisky catches fire, then let it flame to remove most of the alcohol. If you don’t have a gas flame, you can light the pan with a long taper or match. If it doesn’t go out after a minute or so, put a lid on to kill the flame.
- Heat the butter in a large pan on a medium heat. When it starts to foam, add the onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Fry, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and saffron, then cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Pour in the de-alcoholised whisky, the milk and 600ml water, bring to the boil, then add the diced haddock. Bring back to the boil for 2 minutes, then skim off any impurities that have collected on the surface. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning with cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice (you probably won’t need any salt, as smoked haddock is quite salty). Leave the soup to cool down a little.
- Blend the soup well in a liquidiser, then either pass through a fine sieve (discard anything that won’t pass through) or leave it as it is – see tips. Give the soup a final taste for seasoning, then tip into a medium saucepan over a medium heat to warm it up again – it should be served piping hot (see tips).
- Put the spinach in a small saucepan. Add 50ml water and a pinch of salt. Cover and put over a high heat, bringing the water to a galloping boil for 1 minute. Drain and press out the water, then divide the spinach among the soup bowls.
- Add the haddock cubes to the soup bowls, stir the coriander through the soup, then ladle into the bowls. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.
- Passing the soup through a fine sieve after blending makes it ultra-smooth and light – push it through using the back of a ladle – but you’ll have to discard what’s left in the sieve. If you don’t want to discard the fish, blend the soup well in a liquidiser, then serve without sieving. It’ll have a thicker texture but will still taste great.
Make sure your soup is piping hot when it’s served – the heat gently cooks the smoked haddock cubes in the garnish so they poach perfectly.
- A lightly oaked, creamy white burgundy is best.