Traditional Cock a Leekie Soup Recipe

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Chicken and Leek Soup - Cock-a-Leekie.
  • 2 hrs
  • Prep: 90 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6
Ratings (25)

Cock a Leekie Soup is an earthy, traditional Scottish dish with many regional variations, some of which go back as far as the 16th century. There are many variations on the recipes and none are wrong, after all, this is a chicken and leek soup and of course open to interpretation.

Some cooks may add chopped grilled bacon to the soup, some will use beef stock, and many suggest offering stewed prunes with the finished dish as was recommended by Talleyrand, the French gourmet. This recipe uses a whole chicken cooked in a pot, but there are no prunes but feel free to add them if you like.

Whichever your choice of recipe for cock a leekie, make sure you do try this easy recipe based on one from late Ronnie Clydesdale of the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow it is a sure-fire winner and does follow the traditional method for making the soup, and truly there is no more a Scottish restaurant to be found, so they do know what they are talking about. 

What You'll Need

  • 1 x 1.25K ( 2lb 12oz) fresh, whole, free range chicken
  • 12 medium sized leeks well washed and chopped to 2.5cm (1") lengths
  • 125g  (4 oz) long grain rice, washed
  • 3 - 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated
  • Salt and crushed black pepper

How to Make It

Serves 4

  • Put the chicken and half of the chopped leeks in a large stock pot or pan and cover with cold water.
  • Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the chicken is falling off the bone (this depends on the size and freshness of the chicken, it make take a little longer with an older chicken).
  • Take the pan off the heat and remove the chicken and place on a dish or large plate and keep to one side, covered until it cools after which, it can be refrigerated.
  • Strain the broth into a fresh pan large enough to hold the remaining ingredients. Add the rice and cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 10 minutes  After 10 minutes, add the grated carrots and the remainder of the chopped leeks. Continue cooking for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  • Taste for the strength of flavour in the broth and, if necessary, reduce even further to increase the taste until you are happy with it. Season the broth with salt and pepper once you have reached the intensity of flavour you like.
  • Chop a little of the reserved chicken into pieces, place on hot plates and pour over the broth and vegetables to create the finished soup. 

Note: The reserved chicken is sometimes served as a separate course with mealie or boiled potatoes and a very strong sauce or perhaps yellow English mustard. Or, less traditional but nonetheless tasty is using the cooked chicken in a curry or a pie and other leftover recipes.