Cooking it up Medieval Style

cock-a-leekie soup, medieval cooking
By Laurel F – originally posted to Flickr as Cock-a-leekie Soup, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Cock-a-leekie? No it’s not a medical condition! In Scotland cockfighting was quite popular as a gambling sport. Sometimes the loser of these brutal “games” was thrown in the cook-pot (I’m talking about the bird, not the Scotsman folks).


  • 1 stewing chicken, cut up
  • 1 calf’s foot or veal knuckle, cleaned and split (optional)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • Bouquet Garni of: 1/2 tsp marjoram, 1/4tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp chervil, 2 cloves, 4 sprigs parsley and 4 peppercorns, all tied in cheesecloth
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 5 leeks, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 prunes (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices toasted bread
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Simmer chicken and calf’s foot in 2 quarts of water, skimming surface. Add carrot, bouquet garni, and onion and simmer for two hours. Add barley and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes. Saute leeks in the butter until soft but not brown. Add leeks and prunes to soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Discard bouquet garni. Take chicken and calf’s foot from soup and bone them, cut meat into bite size pieces and return to soup. Serve in a tureen over toasted bread. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

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