Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crockafeather Leekie

My last two free-range chickens (will order more from the Northwest Food Hub!) achieved thawed-ness at a very awkward time.  So I put them in the slow cooker, with some leeks and white wine.  Seeing them there, I thought, "Cockaleekie!" and so Googled.

Cockaleekie is Scottish.  Though Scotland's cuisine sometimes can seem a bit perverse, nonetheless the country fascinates me, with its lochs, remote highland moors, wheeling curlews, and rambling old houses.  But I digress.

It seems a certain Ronnie Clydesdale (how can you not trust that name?) from the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow has a recipe for Cockaleekie. It's probably authentic, but seems really plain.  

Wikipedia says that historically, prunes (!) were added to boost Cockaleekie broth's nutritional qualities.

Another website is so Scottish, it has an online game you can play called "Whack a Haggis."  Right.  Their Cockaleekie recipe calls for celery, bay leaf, and optional avocado. They also mention something called "Feather Fowlie," a soup finished with egg yolks and cream. 

Having picked up some duck eggs at the Northwest Food Hub, and having Pure Eire heavy cream to hand, a Feather Fowlie/Cockaleekie hybridization is emerging.   Also, thyme and bacon seem to be Feather Fowlie options. And nutmeg!  And it's topped with julienned prunes.  I love how prunes keep popping up in these recipes.

Back in the kitchen, I drafted a recipe based on my research, and added herbs, spices and prunes to the slow cooker.

The finished soup was deeply satisfying.  And so a blog post was born.


For chicken and stock:

2 small free-range chickens
4 small or 2 large leeks, white
   and light green parts only, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups water
4 prunes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf

To finish the soup:

1-1/2 cups sliced carrots
1-1/2 cups sliced celery
1-1/2 cups diced onion
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups of the cooked chicken, cut into smallish pieces for soup

1/2 cup Pure Eire cream
2 duck egg (or three chicken egg) yolks

1 cup sliced bacon
1 clove garlic, minced

2 or 3 prunes, julienned (cut in slivers)

Place all chicken and stock ingredients in 6-quart slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours.  Remove chickens from cooker and place them on a platter.  Strain the broth and chill.  Remove chicken meat from bones and set aside or refrigerate.

To finish and serve the soup, skim fat from broth.  Heat broth to simmering in a large soup pot.  Add carrots, celery, onion and crushed red pepper.  Simmer about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In a small skillet, fry bacon and garlic 'til crispy.  Set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together cream and egg yolks.

Turn off heat under soup pot.  Quickly stir in cream/egg yolk mixture.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with bacon and julienned prunes.

Taste the Scottish history!

Makes 4 very hearty servings.

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