RECIPE: COCK-A-LEEKIE

1 large chicken, whole, 6 – 7 lbs.
gallon of water
6 large leeks, well washed
1 c. pearl barley
4 large red potatoes, washed
1 c. chopped celery
1 bunch baby carrots (the real ones, with stems on, not the little machine turned cores in plastic bags)
1/2 lb. pitted prunes
2 bay leaves
1/2 t. thyme
1 T. strong chicken bullion base (I like the "Liquid Gold" brand, it comes in a jar, a thick paste)
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 T. salt plus extra s&p to taste
chopped parsley
 

Trim off the tough outer leaves of the leeks, Split long wise and clean the leek halves under running water, separating the leaves to rinse away every speck of lurking sand and dirt. With a sharp knife cut the leeks into long thin ribbons. 

Put the whole chicken in a large covered pot with the water, bring to a boil and simmer. Skim off foam as it rises to the top. When the foaming subsides, add the celery, leek strips and barley. Push the vegetables down into the water. It's okay if the bird isn't totally submerged, it'll cook through when the pot is covered. Add the bay leaves, thyme and 2 T. salt. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

After 2 hours that bird will be cooked! Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pot. It might break up a bit, so make sure you fish around to get any stray wings and other bony bits that have fallen off. Place chicken on a plate to cool.

Cut the unpeeled potatoes into 1" cubes and add to the hot liquid in the pot. Gently peel the baby carrots and trim off all but 1 " of the green stalks. Add carrots to pot. Stir in 1 T. of chicken bullion base (or add 2 chicken bullion cubes). Add the prunes. Stir it all around. 

Simmer, lid ajar to allow the liquid reduce and flavors concentrate, for 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile remove all the skin from the chicken and discard. Using your fingers, shred the thigh and drumstick meat, discarding bones and cartilage. Pull off the breast lobes and reserve separately. Pick over the remaining carcass for every bit of good meat left (i.e. the oysters on the backbone, all the nice white meat tucked into the shoulder blade bones). Return the shredded chicken meat to the pot during the last 10 minutes of the cooking of the potatoes. Taste for salt and pepper and take action accordingly.

As for the wings, they are the cook's private reward, best enjoyed away from prying eyes.  

Slice the breasts into picture-perfect elegant servings. Dip a spoon into the hot stew and dampen the slices so they don't dry out.  

When time to serve use a slotted spoon to spread a thick base of the tangle of stewed leeks, barley, potatoes, prunes, carrots and shredded dark meat chicken onto a large serving platter. (The celery pieces will have long since lost any individual identity but of course they're in there too.) The slotted spoon allows control of how thick you'd like the base to be. You want a thick layer of very hot and and very thick of vegetable and dark meat. Not watery. 

Gently lay the breast slices into the hot stew remaining in the pot and press them down for just a minute, only long enough to heat through. Carefully lift the breast slices from the pot and fan out across the leek stew base. Use a spoon to dribble a bit of heavy cream on top of each slice. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and have at. 

Print This Post Print This Post
Share and Enjoy
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Written by on March 26, 2012 under ALL RECIPES.



To support this blog, Spectacularly Delicious is an Amazon and Google AdWords Affiliate.


Copyright 2014. Spectacularly Delicious and Sean Sullivan All rights reserved.