Scottish Recipes – Cock a Leekie Soup
My wife and I recently enjoyed a stay at The Portpatrick Hotel and were delighted to find that our room overlooked this pretty harbour on the West Coast of Scotland. The views were breath-taking and added to the relaxing time we spent at this charming Coast and Country Hotel. We were even more pleased to find that we could take our drinks from the bar out onto the balcony and sit in comfortable chairs and enjoy this picturesque scene. It was a pleasant way to spend the time after a drive and just before dinner.
Running www.scottishrecipes.co.uk always gives me an appetite for well prepared and presented meals and I was glad to say that I found this from their talented chefs. On the first night I tasted a pudding as a main meal! This was a duck and mushroom pudding wrapped around toasted and baked bread which had a moist centre with a crunchy cover and sides, not easy to get right; especially given that the chef had 56 covers that busy Friday night.
The lovely thing about holidaying within my native Scotland is being able to sample the way that Scottish chefs cook my favourite meals. This was the case for the apple crumble where the chef had topped this favourite pudding with oats so that when cooked it would give guests a wonderfully crunchy sensation in contrast to the smooth apple texture.
I’m pleased to say that the quality of food remained high during our long weekend trip and the portions were generous, so much so that I gained a few pounds! Porridge is one of my favourite breakfast meals and I consider myself a connoisseur and dislike lumpy, ill seasoned, watery porridge. I’m happy to say that The Portpatrick Hotel porridge is first class, lovely and thick, lightly salted and best of all – you can keep going back for more – a great start to the day. Though do save room for the Scottish cooked breakfast where the chefs demonstrate their skill by cooking the perfect fried egg with runny yolk and smooth whites. It was perfect for dipping the thick back bacon and spicy Cumberland sausage.
Other notable Scottish dishes served during our pleasant stay included the Pea and Ham soup, a firm favourite North of the border. Other Scots soups include tattie soup, broth and Cullen Skink. Below is the Scottish Recipe for Cock a Leekie Soup for you to enjoy at home. It is traditionally served on New Year’s Night and when we celebrate what would have been the birthday of our national poet Robert Burns. Why not celebrate these Hogmanay and Burns Night events with a stay at The Portpatrick Hotel.
A complete chicken or several pieces of uncooked chicken with their bones removed.
400g of leeks.
100g of prunes that have had their stones removed and been precooked (though some chefs omit this ingredient)
25g of rice
2 litres of water or soup stock
One teaspoon of brown sugar
Seasoning of salt and pepper, one bay leaf and some thyme
Parsley for the garnish
3 rashers of chopped streaky bacon as an optional ingredient.
How To Make Cock a Leekie Soup
1. Put the chicken into a large pan and add the fluid. Bring to the boil and as any fat rises then remove and throw out.
2. Slice the leeks into 2cm chunks, using both the green and white section and add this to the pot after it has been boiling for 1 hour. Add the herbs, bring back to the boil and simmer.
3. Taste and season if needed. Chop up the bacon, if used, and add to the pot.
4. Top up the stock if needed.
5. Remove the chicken and set aside with the bay leaf. Save some of the chicken for returning to the soup. The remainder was needed for the rich chicken taste.
6. Put the rice, uncooked, straight into the pot along with the prunes if used.
7. Simmer for half an hour then add some chicken shreds. Simmer for ten more minutes and serve.
More Scottish Recipes like mince and tatties, rumbledethumps, clootie dumpling and cranachan can be found at www.scottishrecipes.co.uk where you can also learn about the tradition and customs behind these meals along with more modern Scots dishes such as haggis stuffed chicken breasts.