Cock-a-Leekie

This has to be one of the most famous Scottish dishes. This soups main ingredients are obviously chicken and leek. This dish traditionally is a meal in one with the soup being eaten first followed by the meat. Cock-a- leekie should have veal or stewing beef in it but in this recipe I have chosen to keep it out for a simpler modern version of the soup.

Wine Recommendation: Try a Viognier from the South of France with this dish. See The Mixed Case for details.

Portions: 4-6 Portions

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 2 hours

Ingredients

Cock-a-Leekie:

  • 1 large corn fed chicken (1.5-2kg)
  • 3 leeks, washed, tops trimmed and whites finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • handful parsley
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 garlic cloves

Deep Fried Leeks

  • half a leek, white finely shredded
  • oil for deep frying

To Serve

  • 50g prunes, deseeded, finely chopped and soaked in a tablespoon of whisky for 1 hour (whisky is optional)
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche
  • Oaty Cheese Scones (see recipe)

Method

  1. Leeks: Preheat oil to 180C in a deep fryer, wok or large saucepan. Deep fry the leeks in the oil for 1 minute so that it is crisp and light brown. Remove the leeks from the oil and drain them on kitchen paper. Set aside until ready to serve (this can be done a up to a day in advance if you store them in a well sealed container)
  2. Soup: Place the chicken in a large saucepan with the green leek tops, bay leaf, parsley, carrot, onion and garlic. Fill the saucepan with water so that it just covers the chicken. Place the saucepan on a stove over a moderate-high heat and bring the water to the boil then reduce it to a simmer. Scoop off any scum that comes to the top and leave the chicken to cook at a low simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the chicken from the stock and remove the meat from it. Return the carcass to the stock and bring it to a strong simmer and leave it to cook for 30 minutes. Remove the skin from the chicken meat and roughly dice the leg and thigh meat and slice the breast meat into even pieces. Place the chicken meat in a covered container (keeping the dark and breast meat separately) and refrigerate it until ready to serve.
  4. Remove the stock from the heat and strain it, return it to the saucepan and heat. Add the finely chopped leeks to the stock and allow the soup to cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from the fridge and add the dark meat to the soup and bring it to a strong simmer and leave it to cook for 10 minutes.
  6. To Serve: Distribute the soup evenly among 4-6 bowls. Place the breast meat in the centre of each soup and place a spoonful of creme fraiche on it. Sprinkle the parsley and prunes over the soup and scatter the deep fried leek over the soup. Serve with slices of bread and butter or cheese scones.
  • Leftover soup makes a good pie. Reduced down the soup and thicken it with a little corn flour, add a little double cream or cream fraiche and finely chopped parsley. Place the thickened soup in a pie dish and cover it with puff pastry brushed with a little beaten egg (make a little whole in the centre of the pastry). Cook it in the centre of an oven preheated to 220C for 10-15 minutes so that the pastry is cooked and golden.