The vegetable never taken aboard ship is a leek


That’s right, I’m starting this post with the words, cock-a-leekie.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to avert your eyes or be warned of graphic content.  It is a soup, a Scottish soup (although likely originated in France).  A soup that warms your soul, and if anyone knows about warming you from the inside, it is the Scottish.  Wikipedia tells me it is popular in Canada, likely because so many Scottish to Canada (like my ancestors, who then headed down to the United States).

Scottish is one of the nationalities in my ethnic background and I stand for that nation proudly.  I’m happy to have joined a facebook group of my clan, although I’m likely related to very few of them (or all of them, very distantly).

In a period of cold cold days, it makes sense to look to the Scottish in food ideas to warm you up, which brings me to making Cock-a-leekie soup, which is simply, chicken and leeks.

cock-a-leekie soupWhen looking for recipes for this soup, I wasn’t entirely happy with any that I found, so I did a bit of a mish/mash.  I knew there were for sure, a couple of requirements for this soup.  It had to have chicken, leeks and prunes (or in my case, figs, because I grabbed those instead of prunes at the grocery store – same idea though!).  It needed a grain, and barley seemed most appropriate.  It also needed to have the quality of a bit of a peasant soup.  I don’t think this was a soup for Scottish nobles, this was a soup of the common people, taking what they had available and letting it sit in a pot for a while and hoping it tasted good. I drew inspiration from two sources, the blog, Mother Would Know and Martha Stewart.

Cock-a-leekie Soup

8 chicken thighs with skins and bones

2 parsnips, roughly chopped

3 celery stalks, halved

1 large carrot, halved

2 Quarts bone broth

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

2 lbs of leeks (about 4)

1/2 cup barley

12 pitted prunes, quartered

1/4 cup of fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt


  1. Heat a large stockpot on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl
  2. Add parsnips, celery and carrot to stockpot and lightly brown, about 5 minutes
  3. Add bone broth and garlic to stockpot, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom. Bring to a boil.
  4. Return chicken to pot, reduce heat and simmer, about an hour.
  5. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve.
  6. Add leeks, prunes, salt and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick and barley is cooked, about 40 minutes more.
  7. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice turnips, carrot and celery.
  8. Stir chicken, turnips, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve.

I can’t wait to see what kind of search words pulls this blog post up!

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5 Responses to The vegetable never taken aboard ship is a leek

  1. aviets says:

    There’s a great “Jeeves and Wooster” episode that revolves around cock-a-leeky soup. This recipe sounds delicious (except for the parsnips, which I think I’ll leave out). I’ll try it this weekend!

  2. Jan Davidson says:

    Have you made this yet?? Sounded interesting until you added the prunes. Is it hard to find chicken things??

    • Yes I made it. That is where the picture came from. The prunes take on the taste of the soup – just a little bit of added fiber, I bet you need! Nice catch on the chicken things, I bet they are found with the chicken thighs. PS – the Mini-ions just pinned more dastardly deeds to you and the Gramps.

  3. Pingback: My friend said that if Watergate had happened in Scotland they would’ve had Scotch tape | crumbsoffthetable

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