This is my Dad’s recipe – I think he was taught how to make it by my great-aunts who were Highlanders (from Skye!). It doesn’t have prunes in it and we’ve always varied it by what happens to be around. The mandatory ingredients (for me) are home-made stock, leeks, pearl barley and chicken.
Stock made from Sunday’s roast chicken, or by boiling up chicken carcasses. You need about two pints of strongish chicken stock (it should be jelly when chilled in the fridge).
2-3 oz of pearl barley
2 large leeks
2 sticks of celery
1 small turnip
Parsley to garnish
6 oz of cooked chicken (the brown meat is best)
A little chicken dripping (from the roast) or butter
Chop the onion finely
Trim, clean and chop the leeks and celery
Peel the turnip and potato and cut into cubes about 1/4inch square
Gently sweat the onion and celery till the onion is softened. Now add the rest of the vegetables and coat with fat. There will look as if there are far too many leeks but they reduce down. Add the stock and the pearl barley and bring the mixture up to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the pearl barley is cooked.
Shred the chicken
Add to the soup and heat through.
Serve garnished with chopped parsley and crusty bread.
Cockaleekie soup is something I make in a batch at the start of the week and eat in large quantities. When the weather is cold, I yearn for it. Comfort food from my childhood!