Try Some Cock-a-Leekie. Yes, it is a Soup

It’s a chilly mid-winter night. You come home and ask, “What’s for dinner?””Cock-a-leekie”. Ok, hold your horses and stop laughing. That wasn’t a joke. And if you happen to laugh about it in front of a Scotsman, god save the Queen. Widely regarded as the national soup of Scotland, Cock-a-leekie is a comforting, soul-cleansing broth made with leeks and chicken. A Burns Night. Cock-a-leekie is made and consumed alongside whisky.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium chicken, jointed into pieces
  • 180g smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • cut into lardons
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1-2 leeks, washed and cut into thick rounds (tops reserved)
  • Splash of whisky, a dram of Glenlivet is fine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • Sprigs
  • 15-20 stoned prunes

The Process

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan until hot. Fry the chicken pieces in batches until golden brown, then remove and set aside. Add the bacon, carrots, celery and leek tops, and fry for 5 mins until it all starts to brown. Pour off any excess fat.

Splash in the whisky and boil rapidly, scraping the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken pieces with the herbs and add enough cold water to cover. Slowly bring to the boil, then simmer for 40 mins until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken to a plate, cover with foil and leave to cool slightly. Strain the soup into a clean saucepan and discard all the other ingredients. Leave to stand for a few mins and skim off any fat that rises to the top. Pull the meat from the chicken bones and tear into large chunks.

Simmer the soup with the chicken, leeks and prunes for another 20-30 mins. Season to taste and serve with really good bread.


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