Cock-A-Leekie Soup: A Perfect Fall Recipe

Cock-A-Leekie Soup Cover

Cock-A-Leekie Soup is a Scottish soup dish of leeks and chicken stock, classically thickened with barley, and is perfect for fall. It is a peasant dish with many regional variations, some which go back as far as the 16th century. The original recipe added prunes during cooking, and traditionalists still garnish with a julienne of prunes (sometimes soaked in scotch for the full effect). I omitted the prunes altogether because we don’t really like them, although my husband was willing to try for the scotch.

I first discovered Cock-A-Leekie Soup at a pre-1800 early frontier encampment we visited at a festival. I am intrigued with outdoor and cast iron cooking (and it is primarily what I use at home) and watched one of the re-enactors cooking this soup for her family. I asked her about it and she told me what it was called and the recipe. I adapted it from her recipe, some online finds (listed below) and of course, added my own touch based on my tastes (as I believe you should in cooking). This is a rustic dish so don’t get caught up in perfect measurements or precise cutting. It’s a perfect fall recipe that is really satisfying, easy to cook and makes plenty of leftovers – you don’t want to miss out!

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Prep time: About 30 minutes

Cook time: About 2 hours

Total time to make: About 2 hours, 30 minutes

What You Need:

  • One whole chicken cut up (I buy mine like that, but you could use any type of chicken you wanted/have on hand)
  • 6-7 leeks, cut lengthwise and then into pieces/chunks (I only used the white/light green parts at the bottom of the stalk, see below if you need detailed cutting instructions)
  • 4-6 carrots total; 4 or 5 peeled and cut into chunks/strips; 1 unpeeled carrot
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in half
  • 3 quarts chicken broth or stock (2 quarts are necessary for the soup, I like a 3rd quart to make it more brothy and for leftovers)
  • 1 cup white rice (you could use any kind of rice you wanted)
  • Water equivalent to make 1 cup rice (found on the rice packaging, usually a cup or so)
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, pre-sliced or cut into quarters/slices
  • Spices (use your imagination on what you add and the amounts, according to what you like or don’t like!):
    • A pinch of Garlic powder
    • Some Oregano
    • Some Thyme
    • A bit of Salt
    • A pinch of Black pepper
    • Some Sweet Curry Powder
    • A dash of Celery Salt
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • Parsley, a handful fresh, roughly chopped
  • Celery leaves, a handful fresh, roughly chopped

What You Do:

  • Pour 2 quarts of stock into a large stock pot
  • Lightly season chicken (with skin and bones) with salt and black pepper.
  • Place chicken in pot with whole, unpeeled carrot, half of the onion and bay leaves (you can also place the chicken parts in the pot if they came with the chicken)
  • Cover the pot and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the chicken is falling off the bone

(While the chicken is cooking)

  • Cut leeks, rinse well in a colander or strainer and set aside (discard tops, see below for cutting instructions, if needed)
  • Peel and chop carrots and set aside
  • Chop/slice mushrooms if needed and set aside
  • Chop parsley and celery leaves and set aside
  • Mix dry spices in a small bowl and set aside

(After the chicken is cooked through)

  • Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool
  • Remove the vegetables, other chicken parts, bay leaves and discard
  • Strain the stock if needed and return to pot
  • Add rice to broth and equivalent of water needed to cook rice (found on rice package or about a cup)
  • Add the leeks, carrots, mushrooms, herbs and spices to the pot (except fresh parsley and celery leaves); stir, bring to a simmer and cover.
  • While the vegetables continue to cook, de-bone chicken and remove skins, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Add cut up chicken pieces to pot of broth, rice and vegetables
  • Cook all ingredients for another 30-45 minutes at a simmer, covered, until vegetables are really tender
  • In the last few minutes, add fresh parsley and celery leaves to the pot, as well as any extra broth you may desire; stir to heat through
  • Ladle into bowls and serve hot!

Please note: Due to the rice in the soup, you may need to add more broth prior to re-heating leftovers

Additional recipes for Cock-A-Leekie Soup/Resources:

Tell me about you. Have you tried Cock-A-Leekie Soup? Is a favorite for your family? What variations do you add (or subtract) to make it your own? Did you enjoy this recipe?

Until the next mile marker,

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Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Cover Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

While I love peppers (the hotter the better), in the past, Chipotle has not been one of my favorite flavors of peppers so I don’t cook with them very often. I also have never made and then shredded meat for a dish. This Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos recipe is changing my mind about Chipotle Peppers and shredding meat. It was super easy and so delicious!

In case you didn’t know, a chipotle comes from the Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs) word chilpoctli meaning “smoked chili.” It is a smoke-dried jalapeno (or chili) used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex. This recipe calls for canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce and you can find them in the Latin aisle of most grocery stores. I get the ones made by Embasa, which look like this:

Chipotle can of peppers

I don’t find Chipotle peppers to be overly spicy, but they can be depending on the amount you use. Chipotles have a rich smoky flavor which forms the basis of flavor for this dish and it is enhanced by the additional smokiness of the Adobo Sauce. If you don’t like any spice, just use the Adobo sauce, but I suggest you use at least one or two whole peppers to add flavor to your meat. By keeping the peppers whole, much of the spice remains in the pepper anyway and you will get wonderful flavor.

This recipe is really simple and can have many variations in how you serve it, but just remember the simplicity is what makes it so good.

What You Will Need
  • 1.5-2 pounds chicken (I used thighs with skin when I made it because that is what we had, but you could use whatever!) Note: You can use more chicken for more servings or leftovers
  • 1 medium to large sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Ground black peppercorns (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers (or to taste – I used the whole can) and Adobo Sauce
  • 1 cup diced red onions
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (dry will not work for this recipe)
  • Corn (or flour) tortillas
How to Make It

Generously season your chicken with the salt and pepper.

Place chicken in a crock pot. Add sliced onion, garlic, chipotles with sauce and enough water to just cover the chicken.

Cover crock pot and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high (until chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone).

Remove chicken from cooking liquid, and set aside until cool enough to handle. You can either choose to keep or remove the skin before shredding, depending on your personal preference. My husband likes the skin so I left it and in my serving, I ate the pieces with no skin to reduce some of my fat intake.

Shred chicken with a fork and place shredded pieces on a serving dish/plate.

Shredded Chicken

Spoon some of the liquid from the crock pot (onions included!) over the shredded chicken.

Pouring sauce on shredded chicken

Remove the peppers from the crock pot and chop, set aside to serve (if you want extra spice on your tacos)

Assemble Your Tacos

Grab a corn or flour tortilla and fill with chicken

Top with diced red onions, chopped chipotles and cilantro



Tacos with white border

This recipe is really limitless in the possibilities so feel free to be creative with toppings and assembly, although the simplicity of it is part of what makes it delicious! The combination of sweet (from the red onions, tortillas), spicy (chipotles) and smoky (Adobo) is perfect just the way it is prepared  – fresh, simple and elegant just the way it is.

Going Paleo? Try making it with Cauliflower Tortillas instead, you can find a great recipe here from We can Begin to Feed.

Until the next mile marker,