Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe

Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
The prunes in this Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe add a bit of sweetness to the broth. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Try this recipe the next time you have a few pheasant carcasses you don't have plans for

This Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe is a great dish to serve during fall and wintertime.


Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pheasant carcasses (or combination of pheasant and chicken carcasses)
  • Leftover pheasant or chicken meat, to taste (optional)
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into large sections
  • Half an onion
  • 2 leeks, white/light green parts sliced and thoroughly washed
  • ½ cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup white rice
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric, optional for color
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:


  1. Add pheasant carcasses, celery and onion to a medium pot. Completely submerge ingredients with water by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes, partially covered.
  2. Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
    Whether it's cold outside, you're feeling sick, or you just have a taste for something warm, this Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe is sure to satisfy. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  3. Next, add pitted prunes, leeks, white rice and barley and simmer covered for an additional 30 minutes or until rice, barley and leeks become tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
    You can get creative and add extra ingredients or your favorite spices to this pheasant soup recipe. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  5. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, fish out the pheasant bones, celery and onion and discard, and then add in shredded carrot and leftover pheasant/chicken meat and turmeric. Cook the rest of the way until carrot becomes tender and meat has heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
  6. If desired, garnish the soup with extra prunes, thinly sliced; the prunes that have been simmering would’ve lost most of their original flavor and texture at this point. If the soup becomes too thick, add chicken stock (or water) to thin out and season again to taste.

    Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe
    Leave on the stove until the pheasantmeat has completely cooked through and the carrots have reached the desired consistency. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

    About This Pheasant Cock-a-Leekie Soup Recipe

    Considered Scotland’s “national soup,” the first recipe for cock-a-leekie soup was printed in 1598, though it wasn’t called “cock-a-leekie” until the 18th century. Made with savory chicken stock, tender leeks, pitted prunes and thickened with rice, this is the Scottish version of chicken and rice soup.


    I tasted this heartwarming soup for the first time at The Coach House Coffee Shop in Luss, located just a few paces from the shores of Loch Lomond. It had been raining, and after days of eating heavily portioned – albeit delicious – Scottish breakfasts, a light lunch of cock-a-leekie soup, brown bread and butter really hit the spot.

    For the stock in my version of this recipe, I used the carcass of a pheasant that I had roasted earlier in the week and the carcass from a chicken that my husband smoked a few days later. You can use all pheasant bones for this dish if you have them, but I was short on pheasant and the chicken carcass did have a good deal of leftover skin that would render out and make the stock richer.

    Modern recipes omit prunes, but traditionalists still add it to their dish. I added it here, and thought that it imparted a nice sweetness to the broth.

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