The meal — which I suppose we must call dinner, though it was nearer tea time — was cock-a-leekie soup, and hot roast turkey, and a steamed pudding, and roast chestnuts, and as much fruit as you could eat.
-The Silver Chair
In The Silver Chair, the children, along with Puddleglum the Marshwiggle, become hopelessly lost in their quest to find the prince. They are tired and freezing cold when they find the House of Harfang, which they soon discover is a royal court filled with giants. The giant king and queen take them in and give them warm clothes and a hot meal, including cock-a-leekie soup.
Pole, Scrubb, and Puddleglum are super creeped out by these giants, even though they are being nice, and it turns out they have good reason to be creeped out, as the giants are not as nice as they seem! Still, the soup seemed hearty and comforting, so I wanted to recreate it.
Outside of the Narnia books, I had never heard of cock-a-leekie soup before, and I actually had no idea what it even was. So, I did some research and found out that cock-a-leekie soup is a traditional Scottish dish made of chicken and leeks (hence the name). Before making this soup, I had never purchased or cooked leeks before in my life. I don’t even think I had ever eaten leeks before, though it’s possible I have and just didn’t realize it or don’t remember. Either way, this was a new and interesting experience for me!
Cock-a-leekie soup is traditionally thickened with rice or barley. I love barley in soup, but I couldn’t find any barley in the store I normally shop at. I had rice at home, but I have a strong aversion to rice in soup (the reasons for which I will not get into on this blog!). In my research, I did find one source that stated potatoes could be used in place of barley or rice, so I went with that.
Traditionally, cock-a-leekie soup also contains prunes, but my sources say that it is acceptable to leave them out, and I went with that because prunes are gross 😉 .
This soup was rather unique and very enjoyable. I look forward to making it again when I can get my hands on some barley.
Cock-A-Leekie Soup – A Narnia Recipe
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 bone-in chicken thighs (or 4 bone-in chicken drumsticks)
- 1 leek, sliced (see bottom of page for more info)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- Place the chicken stock, carrot, celery, potato, onion, and chicken in a large pot, cover the pot, and cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, remove the meat from the bones, and place the chicken meat back into the pot. Discard the bones.
- Add the leeks, salt, pepper, and parsley to the pot.
- Cook for 30 more minutes on medium heat.
For anyone like me who has never cooked with leeks before, here’s how to slice a leek: Cut the bottom root off the leek (about 1/2 inch off the white bottom). Cut about half of the green part of the leek off the top. Discard the roots and the tops of the leaves. Wash the leek well, as it may have dirt in the little crevices. Slice the remaining parts of the leek, white parts and green parts. The white part of the leek resembles an onion both in taste and appearance.