Introduction: Cock-a-Leekie Soup

Picture of Cock-a-Leekie Soup

Cock-a-leekie soup is a traditional Scottish winter dish. Since it is currently winter down here, it must be time to make it. There are many recipes on-line, but this is the one my mother used to make.

For large meat content and exotic ingredients, see those other ones. For simple quick and cheap, see this one.

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

The clues are in the name. This soup was traditionally made from stringy old cockerels and leeks.

2lbs (1kg) Leeks
2lbs (1kg) Brown onions
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup long-grain white rice (unwashed)
1 pint (500ml) strong chicken stock
8oz (250g) shredded cooked chicken
1 quart (1 litre) water

Most recipes use an entire boiling fowl and add prunes. There was always very little meat in this to my memory, and never prunes.

Step 2: Alium

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Wash the leeks and then chop into half-inch (10mm) slices.

Chop down through each slice or else the strips of leaf will be too long for easy eating.

Use all of the leek, white and green.

When it gets to the leafy end, and you can't lay slices on the board for the downward chop, then you have to do a couple of lengthways cuts on the accumulated leaf material.

Then chop the onions relatively coarsely (see picture).

Step 3: Assemble and Go Away

Picture of Assemble and Go Away

Put the leeks, onions, stock, chicken, rice, pepper and bay leaves into a big pot (6-8 quarts, 6-8 litres).

Add a couple of pints of water (1 litre).

Cover.

Put on a low heat.

Go away for about an hour and half.

Step 4: Serving and Additional Notes

Picture of Serving and Additional Notes

When the soup looks like the first picture, it's ready. Lots of bread and you're good to go.

Washing the leeks is a bit of a two-stage process. As you slice up the stalk, you will start to find little pockets of dirt wedged between the leaves, usually at the point where the leek starts to colour. The pieces from lower down the stalk don't have them, but once you start to encounter them just dump the chopped pieces in running cold water for a few moments and give a quick stir with your hand. Then drain and add to the rest of the chopped leeks.

The soup should take about fifteen minutes to prepare, and then an hour and a half or two hours to quietly cook. You can do that in a crock pot (slo-cooker) but they tend to be smaller so you might have to reduce the quantities.

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