Cock-a-Leekie is a traditional Scottish chicken and leek soup that is very tasty. You are poaching a chicken in chicken stock and then just cooking some vegetables. Simple and perfect.
This is based on a Mary Berry recipe. I’m not sure if the prunes are traditional but they do add a background sweetness and work well.
With the meat of the whole chicken in the soup, along with the vegetables, it can get pretty “thick”, or crowded. Adding a little vegetable stock (the wonderful Marigold Boullion) can thin it to a nicer consistency without losing the great chicken flavour.
- 1 small chicken
- 2 litres chicken stock (or use a vegetable stock), add more later if needed
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 medium leeks, or just 3 if they are huge, cleaned of grit and halved lengthways, and then sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways, sliced
- 2 sticks celery, halved lengthways, sliced
- 12 ready-to-eat dried prunes, cut into halves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sit the chicken in a large saucepan so it fits snugly and add the stock; you need enough to cover the chicken.
- Add the bay and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil on a high heat. Cover and simmer for 1–1¼ hours. Take the chicken out to cool and cover with foil.
- Add the leeks, carrots, celery and prunes to the cooking liquid. Add any extra stock if it’s needed.
- Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Pull the meat from the chicken carcass into and cut into bite-sized pieces, discarding any skin and bone. Remove the bay leaves from the pan, add a little salt and pepper if needed, return the chicken to the pan and stir. Heat until piping hot.
The cock-a-Leekie soup really needs no garnish or fanciness. It’s just a big bowl of lovely chicken soup.
A good variant to make the dish into more of a carby meal is to soften off some thin egg noodles as the pack instructions say, and then add the drained noodles to the soup just before serving.