Traditional Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe

Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe

The Spruce

Ratings (56)
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 90 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
415 Calories
21g Fat
14g Carbs
41g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 4
Amount per serving
Calories 415
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 127mg 42%
Sodium 137mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 41g
Calcium 41mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cock a Leekie Soup is an earthy, traditional Scottish dish with many regional variations, some of which go back as far as the 16th century. There are many variations on the recipes and none are wrong, after all, this is a chicken and leek soup and of course open to interpretation.

Some cooks may add chopped grilled bacon to the soup, some will use beef stock, and many suggest offering stewed prunes with the finished dish as was recommended by Talleyrand, the French gourmet. This recipe uses a whole chicken cooked in a pot, but there are no prunes but feel free to add them if you like.

Whichever your choice of recipe for cock a leekie, make sure you do try this easy recipe based on one from late Ronnie Clydesdale of the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow it is a sure-fire winner and does follow the traditional method for making the soup, and truly there is no more a Scottish restaurant to be found, so they do know what they are talking about. 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds 12 ounces whole chicken (fresh and free-range)
  • 12 medium-sized leeks (well-washed and chopped to 1-inch lengths)
  • 4 ounces long grain rice (washed)
  • 3 to 4 medium-sized carrots (peeled and grated)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Crushed black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Put the chicken and half of the chopped leeks in a large stock pot or pan and cover with cold water.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the chicken is falling off the bone. (This depends on the size and freshness of the chicken. It make take a little longer with an older chicken.)

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Take the pan off the heat and remove the chicken and place on a dish or large plate and keep to one side, covered, until it cools after which, it can be refrigerated.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Strain the broth into a fresh pan large enough to hold the remaining ingredients.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Add the rice and cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 10 minutes.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. After 10 minutes, add the grated carrots and the remainder of the chopped leeks. Continue cooking for 20 minutes, uncovered.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Taste for the strength of flavor in the broth and, if necessary, reduce even further to increase the taste until you are happy with it.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Season the broth with salt and pepper once you have reached the intensity of flavor you like.

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Chop a little of the reserved chicken into pieces, place in hot bowls, and pour over the broth and vegetables to create the finished soup. 

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce
  11. Serve and enjoy!

    Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
     The Spruce

    Uses for the Reserved Chicken

  12. The reserved chicken is sometimes served as a separate course with mealie or boiled potatoes and a very strong sauce or perhaps yellow English mustard.

  13. Or, less traditional, but nonetheless tasty, is using the cooked chicken in a curry or a pie and other leftover recipes.