Outlander Series fans will love this! For those of you who are not familiar with the Outlander Series, it’s a book series consisting of 7 (soon to be 8) historical novels written by Diana Gabaldon which I am currently reading (I’m on second book) … and I am so hooked!!! Coming this summer it will begin as a series on Starz. You can find the trailer about it here: http://www.starz.com/originals/outlander and about the books here: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/
I'm of Scot-Irish decent, my maiden name being Scottish and my mother's maiden name being Irish so anything Scottish or Irish interests me especially historical novels set in either country. My Irish Grandmother cooked a lot of Irish foods and Irish inspired foods growing up but I have never, that I know of, had any foods of Scot origin. So in reading the Outlander Series, as you fans know, it is based in Scotland, I came across this soup coincidently, at the first mention in the series of my maiden name, so, of course, I had to google it to see if I could find a recipe.
It was sort of odd that I came across a lot of so called 'traditional' Scottish recipes for this soup calling for rice instead of barley ... odd because rice can only be grown in hot humid climates so therefore, is not grown in Scotland. And in doing a little more esearch, rice only became available in the 15th century in Scotland and then not readily available for purchase. Whereas Barley, is a staple crop in Scotland and has been for many many centuries and still is to this day. So knowing this, I decided that using Barley in this recipe was more traditional then using rice. I wanted a traditional recipe!!!
As with most recipes, this one can vary from region to region, just like your recipe for meatloaf versus mine, ya know? But the basis for the recipe is Chicken and Leeks, always! Hence, the name.
Now I do not cook chicken still on its bones (a strange phobia, I suppose lol) and do not eat dark meat chicken, so I decided to adapt the recipe I found on allrecipes.com to my style of cooking so here it is. Because cooking chicken on the bone in water renders its own 'chicken broth' I substituted chicken broth for the water that is called for in the allrecipes.com version. As far as flavor, I followed the original recipe as closely as I could. The recipe calls for only 1/3 cup of Barley and since I had only eaten Barley and never cooked with it, I stuck to the original measurement. Next time I'll up the Barley measure to 2/3 cup.
This is a good comfort soup for those warm winter days or when your just not feeling good. It's very similar to chicken and rice soup but with a slightly different flavor ... because of the leeks. If you've never had leeks, best way for me to describe them is a cross between celery and green onions but still its own taste and flavor entirely.
It was kinda cool eating a soup knowing that my ancestors ate something like this many many centuries ago. I will definitely make it again!
So here's my version of Cock a Leekie Soup. I hope ya'll enjoy it!!!
Cock a Leekie Soup
4 Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
6 cans Chicken Broth
1 Onion, chopped
1/3 cup Barley (Next time I will double this)
1 Tblsp Chicken Base
3 Leeks, sliced
2 stalks Celery, thickly sliced
2 tsp Thyme
1 Tblsp Parsley
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
In a large soup pot, combine the raw Chicken, Chicken Broth, Onion and Barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the Chicken Base, Leeks, Celery, Thyme, Parsley, Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper. Simmer for 30 more minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.