Chicken and leek soup

Chicken and leek soup

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 chicken, about 1.3 kg
150ml white wine
1 carrot
2 celery sticks
2 mushrooms
bunch spring onions
1 garlic clove
1 thyme sprig
6 black peppercorns
1-2 leeks, depending on size
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the chicken in a large saucepan, add the wine and pour on enough cold water to cover. Peel and roughly chop the carrot; roughly chop the celery and mushrooms; cut off and discard the coarse green tops from the spring onions. Bash the unpeeled garlic clove and add to the pan with the thyme and peppercorns.
  2. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 1–1¼ hours, skimming off the fat occasionally, as for stock. To check whether the chicken is cooked, feel the legs; they should be loose and wobbly. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan and test by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. Return the chicken to the pan, take off the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the stock.
  3. Meanwhile, trim off the root end and most of the green part of the leek, quarter lengthways, then cut across into 1 cm pieces. Wash in a colander set in a bowl of cold water; drain well. Coarsely chop enough parsley leaves to give you 1–2 tablespoons.
  4. When cool, lift the chicken out of the pan onto a board. Strain the liquor, discarding the vegetables and aromatics, and return to the pan. Boil to reduce the liquor down to about 1.2 litres, to concentrate the flavour.
  5. Meanwhile, strip the chicken from the bones into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Discard the skin and bones.
  6. Skim any fat from the surface of the stock, then strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Taste and season lightly with salt and pepper, then add the leeks and simmer for 4–5 minutes, or until they are tender. Add the chicken and reheat gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir through the parsley before serving.


  • The soup can be made with chicken pieces rather than a whole bird. Reduce the simmering time to 15–25 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.


  • Chicken, leek and noodle soup: Break 2 nests of fine egg noodles into small pieces, about 2 cm long and add to the soup with the leeks in step 6.
Leiths School of food and wine
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