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Cock-a-Leekie

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This porridgelike soup has Scottish roots. Barley makes it thick, and prunes give it a slightly sweet note; white wine and vegetables -- including several leeks -- add flavor.

  • Servings: 6

Photography: Quentin Bacon

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2002

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (on the bone; 4 pieces)
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken breast halves (on the bone; 3 pieces)
  • Four 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 2 cups white wine or water
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved crosswise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 12 pitted prunes, quartered (2/3 cup packed)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with breasts.

  2. Add broth, wine, celery, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; scrape any browned bits from pot; return chicken to pot, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming as necessary, for 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve.

  3. Add leeks, prunes, and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes more. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice carrot and celery. Stir chicken, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve.

Cook's Notes

If you make this soup ahead, you may need to add a bit of water or stock when reheating.

Reviews Add a comment

  • emilysophie
    2 SEP, 2010
    This is a delicious, rich, flavorful soup. I thought the prunes sounded strange, but they add wonderful flavor and blend nicely. A perfect winter soup.
    Reply
  • nll
    12 JAN, 2009
    I have been making this soup each January for several years now for my son's Robert Burns party (the Scottish Poet). I make so much that I use an entire case of leeks. My son tells me that everyone loves it and looks forward to it each year. Thanks for the great recipe!
    Reply
  • CherylHeartsMartha
    31 MAY, 2008
    This soup is fabulous and delicious. The prunes add a warm, rich flavor that is not obviously identifiable as dried plums. They cook into the soup and take on the flavor of the broth - without them this soup would be so much less! This soup is a savory and comforting dish to make any time of year.
    Reply