Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Janette Fuschi | Culinary Ginger
Yum

Cock-A-Leekie soup might just be the original chicken soup. You’ll love this Scottish specialty.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup Photo

Cock-a-leekie soup is a very old, traditional Scottish dish made with chicken, leeks and rice. An amazingly simple and wholesome soup with lots of flavor. Is this the original chicken soup?

Sometimes called ‘cockie leekie’, this is certainly a soup with an unfortunately funny name. Since this soup dates back to the 16th century, I do not want to re-write history by changing its name.

This soup originally came about when cock fighting was popular as a way of using all of the poultry killed in the fights, hence the name.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup Picture

This soup is traditionally served on Burns Night, 25th January which celebrates the life and poetry of Robert Burns that first started in 1801.

I know that prunes have a stigma and we all know what that is, but they are good in this soup. They are just plums after all, and they add a lovely, very slight sweetness to the broth.

You don’t even know they are in there other than the black specks. So, if Grandma made you afraid to try prunes, try this soup, you will like it.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup Image

The soup starts with making the broth from scratch. A whole chicken is simmered with aromatics like onions, carrots, celery and bay leaves. The stock is then strained, returned to the pan then the leeks, prunes and chicken are added along with the already cooked carrots and this is all simmered for 30 minutes and the soup is done! There are variations like added bacon or using barley instead of rice, both delicious additions. Carrots are not traditionally used in the finished soup, but I feel like it needed a little more color than beige chicken and green leeks.

Make a big batch, it freezes well. It’s a great soup to have on hand for a quick weeknight meal or take to work lunch.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup Recipe

    6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 4 pound Whole Chicken
  • 1 large Onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 large Carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 Parsnips, cut into large chunks
  • 5 stalks Celery
  • 2 Bay Leafs
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons Salt, divided
  • 1 pound Leek, washed well and chopped
  • 4 ounces Prunes, pitted and chopped small
  • 1/2 cup Long Grain Rice, cooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. To a large saucepan add the chicken, onions, carrots, parsnip celery, bay leaves and salt.
  2. Cover with water (about 10 cups) and bring to a simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken and allow to cool.
  4. Strain the carrots and cut into bite-size pieces, set aside.
  5. Strain the stock and reserve. Set the celery and parsnip aside for future use. Discard the bay leaves.
  6. Skim off any fat from the stock and add the stock back to the pan.
  7. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and add to the stock along with the leeks, prunes, carrots, rice, salt and pepper.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. 

Recommended

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Janette Fuschi

About Janette

Janette is a British ex-pat living in Southern California. On her blog, Culinary Ginger, you'll learn all about it. On Food Fanatic, you'll see her favorite British classics, and ours too!