cock-a-leekie revisited

Lindsey Bareham

There’s always a risk when fiddling with a classic recipe. Cock-a-leekie, a Scottish stalwart made by simmering beef and fowl with leeks and prunes, is a case in point. My simplified, after-work version is more of a meal, particularly if you add a few small potatoes or a handful of rinsed rice to the pot.

serves 2, prep 20 min., cook 40 min

1 onion
A knob of butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
400g trimmed leeks
4 (or more) chicken thigh fillets
1 tbsp flour
1 chicken stock cube
12 soft, pitted prunes
50g bunch flat-leaf parsley
½ lemon

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in the vegetable oil in a spacious lidded pan and stir in the onion with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slippery soft. Meanwhile, trim the leeks and slice in 1½cm thick slices. Agitate in water. Drain. Unfurl the chicken and slice down in 4 or 5 chunky strips. Toss the chicken in the flour. Make the stock.

Lay the chicken over the softened onion. Cook until you see a white rim, turn the pieces, cook for a couple of minutes then add the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring to knock the flour off the chicken and thicken the liquid. Add the leeks, return to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 min. 5 min before the time is up, add the prunes. Finely chop the parsley. Season the liquid with salt and lemon. Stir in the parsley and serve.