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Soup Recipe. Food! Cock-a-Leekie. Don't be Cheeky (Like Coq au Vin only Scottish!)

Updated on January 13, 2011

Superb Soup and its Ingredients

The main ingredient... This faithful old Cock is past his prime
The main ingredient... This faithful old Cock is past his prime
Them are some Leeks! You aren't likely to see leeks this size at the supermarket, this is an art form!
Them are some Leeks! You aren't likely to see leeks this size at the supermarket, this is an art form!
Fresh Chopped Leeks, make sure you wash them well!
Fresh Chopped Leeks, make sure you wash them well!
Prunes, an essential ingredient
Prunes, an essential ingredient
The finished dish, fit for a Laird!
The finished dish, fit for a Laird!
Canned Cock a Leekie, for convenience, never tried it so it isn't a recomendation!
Canned Cock a Leekie, for convenience, never tried it so it isn't a recomendation!

What to do with your Cock

Some Farmers who keep poultry often have the sad task of having to replace their cock with a younger and more virile specimen. This is one thing that you can do to use your old cock, the proverbial old boiler. Frugal Scottish farmers' wives have devised this dish to make use of the tough old bird. He is placed in a pot on a bed of leeks, garnished with prunes, decorated by a bouquet garni and boiled in chicken stock for at least two hours. The prunes or dried plums add flavor as does the bundle of fresh herbs; thyme,parsley, marjoram and sage, known as the bouquet garni.

This wholesome soup is ideal for a mid day meal with hearty bread ( or scones in Scottish tradition)

Ingredients for Cock a Leekie Soup

1 Old Cock 2 large Leeks half lb Prunes Salt and Pepper to taste

Chicken Stock to cover Bouquet garni Butter to brown the chicken joints

Tablespoon of Barley to thicken


Joint the chicken. The bird may be cooked whole if preferred Fry in the butter in a heavy pan to brown Wash the leeks very carefully by slitting them in half almost to the base of the white part and washing under a fast running tap to get rid of all grit. Chop into rings about half an inch wide. Place them on the bottom of a large stew pot, add the browned jointed bird. Pour in chicken stock or water to cover well. Season with salt and pepper,add the prunes and the barley and finally float the bouquet garni on top. Bring to the boil, place lid on top and simmer for at least two hours. When cooked, remove chicken joints and take out bones, remove bouquet garni and return the meat to the broth. Serve in heated soup dishes with hearty bread or traditional scones.

This fine Scottish dish is traditionally served on Burns Night 24th January, the birthday of this famous Scottish poet. It is usualy served to accompany the Haggis piped to the banquet by a piper n full Scottish regalia. A fine tradition. Robbie Burns (25January 1759 - 21 July 1796) is probably best known for writing the world famous New Year song, ""Auld Lang Syne" sung everywhere to bring in the New Year or Hogmanay as it is known in Scotland. He also wrote many poems and the famous song, "A Red Red Rose"

Food fit for Burns Night

The Scottish Piper pipes  in the Haggis and Cock a Leekie for a typical Burns Night Celebration on the Birthday of the famous Scottish poet.
The Scottish Piper pipes in the Haggis and Cock a Leekie for a typical Burns Night Celebration on the Birthday of the famous Scottish poet.
Burns night on 25th January is usually celebrated with Cock a Leekie Soup and Haggis..........all photos courtesy Flickr
Burns night on 25th January is usually celebrated with Cock a Leekie Soup and Haggis..........all photos courtesy Flickr

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    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Yes I am Welsh from the most beautiful country on the planet. Lucky you to have a Welsh other half. Have you been there?

      A free range chuck would work just as well, hope you both enjoy it.

    • profile image

      Sara 6 years ago

      Hello Gypsy, I made your cornish pasties earlier and thought I'd have a look to see other recipes. Don't know how I could do this, other than with a free range chick, which is what I know? Are you welsh?? Will try this as my other half is Welsh!! Thanks

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      They can be very vicious, can't they? Glad you survived! They are very tasty using this recipe!

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 7 years ago from Texas

      My first a## kicking was at 3 years old from a Rooster or "Cock". Anything recipe that could hasten their demise is a recipe worth using. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Iðunn 8 years ago

      omg, that sounds so good. I love spinach and it's diversity from raw in salads, to creamed spinach (which I have a fantastic recipe for) to spinach cooked with bacon and onions.

      I :heart: spinach.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Spinach wilted in bacon fat! yum yum!

    • profile image

      Iðunn 8 years ago

      I'm big on onions and spinach but carrots are good too, especially with a nice brisket.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      You learn something new each day! I love vegetables too but I didn't do well not eating meat at all so now I use it almost as a condiment, just a little with a heap of vegetables. I love carrots best!

    • profile image

      Iðunn 8 years ago

      I love vegetables so much if I didn't eat meat also I'd be a vegetarian. Funniest thing, I once saw a news article on people who called themselves flexagenarians. They eat meat, but they really love vegetables, they said. haha. Isn't that just a regular eater??? I like to fell out and died laughing. I suppose I could call myself that... a flexagenarian.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Iounn, glad you like the hub . Amazing leeks indeed! thanks for the comment

    • profile image

      Iðunn 8 years ago

      it looks great. man those leeks are pretty, yes, an artform almost. *drool*

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi AM No I'm not surprised you know Josh Groban he is a wonderful performer you have been around! Can't wait to here the skirl of pipes at Sacramento International knowing that it could be you. I know the Dutch are frugal, I was married to one! (And a Scot!)

      Allotments are back in fashion and there is usually a waiting list. Shall I put your name down?

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Aaaah, you'll be surprised to know I know who Josh Groban is, I actually have his Awake album. I heard him at Thanksgiving at work when he sang at a parade, amazing.

      I only sing at church, (NOT the choir), and I usually do it badly. Once in a while my voice works. I wish I could sing, but I couldn't hold a tune to save my life. I am going to try and learn how to play the bagpipe someday. We have a pilot come in once in while to drop off a customer and wait to take him back. While he hangs out, he takes out his bagpipe and belts out a few melodies right after he arrives and right before he leaves. I stand there mesmerized, but no one else cares, (probably hoping he'll stop). The Scotts and the Dutch have frugality in common, I would probably like it there.

      I remember reading about those allotments in one of your hubs, that is a great idea, especially for limited space Europe.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      So was mine!! obviously not high enough! sob sob!

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Gypsy, the floor of the coop is made of wood and is raised off the ground on stilts to prevent this sort of thing.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Our foxes were very cunning and burrowed under the coop entering from below, they would also strike in broad daylight. Good luck with yours!

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Yes, we have plenty of predators: raccoons, foxes, coyotes, even snakes. I have two dogs patroling the yard by day, and the chickens are locked into their coop at night.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      No I'm sure you didn't ! I kept Rhode Island Reds in England and I loved my henny pennies. One lived to be ten. Nothing beats fresh eggs from your own hens. England is infested with foxes so it was difficult to keep them at bay it's probably worse now as hunting is banned. Do your hens have natural predators in the Ozarks?

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Gypsy, we have two Rhode Island Reds and two labeled just Reds. We got them to serve as laying hens, but they are still young and have not started laying yet. We will not be turning them into soup!

      I just liked the look of the recipe. Didn't mean to imply that we would use it on our own poultry, though.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Aya This is a recipe created by frugal Scots to use an old bird. Young hens are too valuable. What kind of hens do you keep? Thanks for the comment

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi A.M. You are up late as usual. You are allowed to be a bit silly, it becomes you. How about those humongous leeks, though? It is a competitive thing in the North of England where the allotment rules still. I wrote about my granddad's allotment in my Pop Newport hub.Listening to Josh Groban as I write. Magnificent voice, do you sing?

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Hmmm, first spotted dick, now cock a leekie. It seems England and the attached countries have an interesting habit of giving their food unusual names. I like this recipe hub especially because I learned a little history - the origin of the "New Year" song and that it came from a country whose most well known musical instrument always stops me dead in my tracks when I hear it. I also admire the efficiency, once the beloved chicken is too old, just cook 'em - end his suffering and fill our bellies at the same time. Just the way God meant it. (I'm sorry if I'm a bit silly, I am feeling facetious tonight).

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi ralwus, It will probably be even better!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi RV, Coq au Vin coming up!

      Hi FP, glad you are enjoying the recipes. I am delving into my youth for most of them!

      Irohner, Strange combination it is but it is an old recipe and most of the ingredients were to hand. Thanks for the kind comments

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 8 years ago from USA

      I never would have thought to combine chicken, leeks and prunes. But what the heck -- I'll give it a try! Great hub.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      GW I'm really enjoying your hubs about all these foods that we've read about over the years and never really known what they actually were! :)

    • RVDaniels profile image

      RVDaniels 8 years ago from Athens, GA

      Good hub. Try coc au vin for another way to cook an old bird.