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Lifestyle Traditional Food & Recipes

Cock-a-leekie (Chicken and Leek Broth)

What better way to kick off the new recipe column than with a dish from the centre of world gastronomy…….Scotland! Cock-a-leekie can trace its roots all the way back to the early 16th century and along with Scotch Broth is recognised as one of our national soups and treasures.

It’s a terrific example of how bringing a few simple ingredients together and cooking them sympathetically can elevate the sum of its parts to something truly glorious.

Some Cock-a-leekie variations include prunes, but if I’m being honest, I think that ruins the dish. This abomination seems to have been introduce by the French gourmet Talleyrand. Clearly a case of sabotage if ever there was one. He must have been jealous of our superior Scottish cuisine, it’s the only logical explanation.

As the years passed on, people started to bulk out the dish with rice or barley, so if you would like to make the dish even more substantial feel free to do so. Perhaps adding some sprouted barley would be a nice, healthy addition. As I’m watching the carbs these days, I opted to keep it pure and simple.

Traditionally, Cock-a-leekie uses an old chicken or cockerel, but old birds are very hard to come by in these modern times. The problem with using a young bird is that the breasts tend to be overcooked and dry out by the time the legs are done. To solve this, you can joint the chicken and add the breasts later on, but I’ve chosen to just use the legs as they’re much more flavourful than the breast anyway and release much more collagen and nutrients into the broth.

Cock-a-leekie Step By Step

The full recipe with the ingredient list can be found at the bottom of this article.

Step 1:

Roughly chop up half your veggies, crush the garlic cloves whole and add a few sprigs of thyme and some parsley stalks to a large pot.

 

 

 

Step 2:

If you’re using chicken legs, joint them into drumsticks and thighs as this will help release more goodness and flavour into the broth. There is a thin line of fat running down legs (where my knife is). You shouldn’t feel much resistance nut if you do, move your knife slightly to the side and you’ll know you’re at the right part of the leg as your knife will easily glide through.

 

Step 3:

Add the chicken to the pot and holding the chicken and vegetables down with your hand, just cover with water. If you add too much water, your broth will taste week and you’ll have to reduce it later on.

 

 

Step 4:

Bring to the boil and skim off any impurities. Cover and then simmer for an hour or until the chicken is just starting to come away from the bone. How long it takes will depend on the size of your chicken legs.

 

 

Step 5:

Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool in the broth and then take out the chicken with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth squeezing all the moisture out and discard the vegetables. All the flavour and goodness from them will be in the broth.

 

 

Step 6:

Pick the meat off the bone. Some people get worried that they’ll miss a bone so a good way of doing this is to have a pile of meat, a pile of bones and a pile of skin and cartilage. Each thigh has 1 thigh-bone (Femur) while the drumsticks have the larger Tibia and the thin Fibula.  Once you’ve done this you can shred the chicken into little, bite-size pieces.

 

Step 7:

Chop up the remaining veg into a nice dice and then sweat it off in some butter until it softens and tastes sweet.

 

 

 

Step 8:

Add the broth back to the pot, then add the chicken and heat through.

 

 

 

 

Step 9:


Check for seasoning then serve and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!

 

 

 

And Finally

If you want to get a head start on my next recipe, double the amount of chicken and vegetables when you cook the chicken. Reserve half the chicken and half the broth and I’ll show you how to make a beautiful chicken terrine with it. Two recipes for the effort of one!

Let me know how you get on making this dish in the comments below and if you have any questions fire away. Also, what other cuisines have the French jealously tried to sabotage?

 

Cock-a-Leekie

Cock-a-leekie (Chicken and Leek Broth) What better way to kick off the new recipe column than with a dish from the centre of world gastronomy…….Scotland! Cock-a-leekie can trace its roots all the way back to the early 16th century and along with Scotch Broth is recognised as one of our national soups and treasures. It’s a terrific example of how bringing a few simple ingredients together and cooking them sympathetically can elevate the sum of its parts to something truly glorious. Some Cock-a-leekie variations include prunes, but if I’m being honest, I think that ruins the dish. This abomination seems to have been introduce by the French gourmet Talleyrand. Clearly a case of sabotage if ever there was one. He must have been jealous of our superior Scottish cuisine, it’s the only logical explanation. As the years passed on, people started to bulk out the dish with rice or barley, so if you would like to make the dish even more substantial feel free to do so. Perhaps adding some sprouted barley would be a nice, healthy addition. As I’m watching the carbs these days, I opted to keep it pure and simple. Traditionally, Cock-a-leekie uses an old chicken or cockerel, but old birds are very hard to come by in these modern times. The problem with using a young bird is that the breasts tend to be overcooked and dry out by the time the legs are done. To solve this, you can joint the chicken and add the breasts later on, but I’ve chosen to just use the legs as they’re much more flavourful than the breast anyway and release much more collagen and nutrients into the broth. Cock-a-leekie Step By Step The full recipe with the ingredient list can be found at the bottom of this article. Step 1: Roughly chop up half your veggies, crush the garlic cloves whole and add a few sprigs of thyme and some parsley stalks to a large pot.       Step 2: If you’re using chicken legs, joint them into drumsticks and thighs as this will help release more goodness and flavour into the broth. There is a thin line of fat running down legs (where my knife is). You shouldn’t feel much resistance nut if you do, move your knife slightly to the side and you’ll know you’re at the right part of the leg as your knife will easily glide through.   Step 3: Add the chicken to the pot and holding the chicken and vegetables down with your hand, just cover with water. If you add too much water, your broth will taste week and you’ll have to reduce it later on.     Step 4: Bring to the boil and skim off any impurities. Cover and then simmer for an hour or until the chicken is just starting to come away from the bone. How long it takes will depend on the size of your chicken legs.     Step 5: Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool in the broth and then take out the chicken with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth squeezing all the moisture out and discard the vegetables. All the flavour and goodness from them will be in the broth.     Step 6: Pick the meat off the bone. Some people get worried that they’ll miss a bone so a good way of doing this is to have a pile of meat, a pile of bones and a pile of skin and cartilage. Each thigh has 1 thigh-bone (Femur) while the drumsticks have the larger Tibia and the thin Fibula.  Once you’ve done this you can shred the chicken into little, bite-size pieces.   Step 7: Chop up the remaining veg into a nice dice and then sweat it off in some butter until it softens and tastes sweet.       Step 8: Add the broth back to the pot, then add the chicken and heat through.         Step 9: Check for seasoning then serve and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!       And Finally If you want to get a head start on my next recipe, double the amount of chicken and vegetables when you cook the chicken. Reserve half the chicken and half the broth and I’ll show you how to make a beautiful chicken terrine with it. Two recipes for the effort of one! Let me know how you get on making this dish in the comments below and if you have any questions fire away. Also, what other cuisines have the French jealously tried to sabotage?   Print This
Serves: 2 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: calories fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 3 large leeks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 parsley stalks
  • 15 g butter
  • Handful of parley leaves (Chopped)

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop up half your veggies, crush the garlic cloves whole and add a few sprigs of thyme and some parsley stalks to a large pot.
  2. If you’re using chicken legs, joint them into drumsticks and thighs as this will help release more goodness and flavour into the broth.
  3. Add the chicken to the pot and holding the chicken and vegetables down with your hand, just cover with water. If you add too much water, your broth will taste week and you’ll have to reduce it later on.
  4. Bring to the boil and skim off any impurities. Cover and then simmer for an hour or until the chicken is just starting to come away from the bone. How long it takes will depend on the size of your chicken legs.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool in the broth and then take out the chicken with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth squeezing all the moisture out and discard the vegetables. All the flavour and goodness from them will be in the broth.
  6. Pick the meat off the bone. Once you’ve done this you can shred the chicken into little, bite-size pieces.
  7. Chop up the remaining veg into a nice dice and then sweat it off in some butter until it softens and tastes sweet.
  8. Add the broth back to the pot, then add the chicken and heat through.
  9. Check for seasoning then serve and garnish with chopped parsley.

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