Mrrzy, since you have discovered the leek, do you know about cockaleekie soup? It’s a traditional Scottish dish that need not be made with an “auld cock” or a worn-out layer, as my Scots Kitchen book recommends, but must contain barley if it is to be reasonably authentic.
(Rolling up my sleeves ... Ahem!)
For rather a lot of cockaleekie — it freezes very well — you need:
- Two or three rashers of side bacon, cut into lardons
- Enough garlic (I like four or five cloves, smashed)
- 750 g to 1kilo of skinned, boned chicken thigh meat, cut into bite-sized hunks
- 200 g hulled barley (not the pearl kind)
- Three large leeks, trimmed of their roots and leaves, and sliced as finely as you like
- About a litre and a half of chicken stock
- Thyme ad lib.
- Enough salt (quantity depends on bacon)
- A dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, brown the lardons and sauté the garlic in the rendered fat. Then brown the chicken pieces, working in batches so as not to crowd the pot. Put all the chicken back into the pot, and add the barley, stirring it about until all the grains are well-coated with bacon and chicken fat. Then add the sliced leeks, and stir about until they are a bit wilted. Add the stock and thyme, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the barley grains have burst. Add a splot or so of Worcester, stir, taste, and then add as much salt as it needs.