Cock-a-leekie soup

An ancient Scottish dish, Cock-a-Leekie Soup dates back to at least the 16th century and is a time-honoured favourite on such Hibernian high days as Burns Night and Hogmanay. Traditional Cock-a-Leekie was made by boiling up a chicken with a chopped leek [hence the name] and other vegetables together with barley or rice to thicken it, prunes and honey to sweeten it, and lots of salt and pepper. What follows may not have the robust Highland relish of a fowl cooked in a great iron cauldron until it disintegrates, but it does retain much of the tastiness of the original.

Ingredients.
25g butter.
½ cup chopped smoked bacon.
1 large leek, sliced with the green discarded.
400g diced lean chicken meat.
1l chicken stock.
½ cup barley.
¼ cup honey.
½ cup chopped prunes.
1 bay leaf.
Salt and pepper taste.
A good bouquet garni of parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Method.
Melt the butter in a pan over a medium flame and quickly fry the bacon then add the diced chicken meat and stir fry until sealed. Add the sliced leek and sauté until soft and well mixed through then add the stock.
Add all the other ingredients, stir through and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Discard the bayleaf and the bouquet garni and serve with chunks of fresh bread.

Serves: 2 – 6 [depending on serving size].

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