Cock-a-leekie Soup

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Chicken soup.
If you think about it, something as simple as chicken soup is, in some ways, a tie that binds us with our neighbor, both the one next door and the one across the globe.

Why, you may ask? Because every home, every culture…we all have some version of chicken soup. Some of us add noodles. Some add potatoes. Some add fish sauce. Some add curry powder. In my house growing up, my mom made ours with long noodles that splashed broth in our faces when we slurped too fast.  However it’s made, the essence is the same:  a warm bowl of soup meant to cure all ails, sooth all souls and in many cases, clean out the fridge.
One of my favorite versions is a Scottish grandmother’s known as Cock-a-leekie Soup, passed on to me by a friend. This, different from my mom’s in most ways, has leeks, barley and dates, and gives a twist on chicken soup rarely seen this side of the pond.
Just as easy as your go-to, it’s worth giving a try.
This recipe serves 4 and uses bone-in chicken legs, but can easily be adapted to use a whole chicken
   
Ingredients
    4 chicken legs
    8 cups water or chicken stock
    3 large leeks, sliced and washed well
    ½ cup barley, uncooked
    ½ TB dried thyme
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    12 prunes, sliced
    Handful of parsley, chopped
Directions
               
Place the chicken into a large soup pot. Pour in the 8 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat until chicken is cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and cut into chunks once cool.  Skim the fat that’s floating on the surface of the broth.
To the chicken broth, add leeks, barley, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for about 40 minutes until the leeks are tender and the barley is cooked.
About ten minutes before you’re ready to eat it, add the chicken and prunes to the pot. Serve with parsley.

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