This gorgeous smoked haddock soup recipe produces a comforting starter that home cooks will be able to master; its elegance belies a simple method. It's a great soup for Burns Night - but there really needn't be an excuse for serving up this wonderful dish

Place the haddock in the cold milk, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool in the milk
Place a pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and allow to soften, then add the potato and cook for a further minute. Add the fish stock and bring to a rolling boil and simmer for 4 minutes
Remove the fish from the milk and pass the milk through a fine strainer into the soup. Bring back to the boil for 1 more minute, then blend until smooth and season with a little salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste
Fry the 4 eggs in a little butter until the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny
Place the cooked eggs in 4 serving bowls. Flake the haddock around the egg and sprinkle with the cress and soaked yellow mustard seeds
Bring the soup back to the boil and pour around the egg yolk. Serve immediately
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Mark Poynton's easy smoked haddock soup recipe is both comforting and impressive, it's just the tonic for a cold winter's day

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