Cock-a-leekie (Scottish chicken, barley and leek) Soup


  • 2 1/2 lb frying chicken, cut up (for an extra-rich soup, rabbit can also be used)
  • 2 med carrots, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, without tops
  • 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon chicken buillon
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups water


The day before cooking, put the barley into a container with 1-2 inches of water on top, cover, and place into refrigerator.

The day of cooking, add all ingredients except leeks to a large pot.  Before adding the water, strain the barley, retaining the water, which should be made part of the 6 total cups of water.

Cover pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Allow to simmer 30 minutes.

Add leeks.  Cover, heat to boiling again, then reduce heat.  Simmer until thickest pieces of chicken are done, about 15 minutes.

Remove chicken from broth and cool slightly.  Remove chicken from bones and skin;  cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Skim fat from both.  If using rabbit, be very careful to find and remove all bones and bone fragments (rabbit bones are very hard and the small ones can be very sharp).

Add chicken to broth.  Heat until hot, about 5 minutes. 

Serves 4-6

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