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Narnia Menu: “The House of Harfang’s Cock-a-Leekie Soup”

By Astrid Tuttle Winegar

As we continue with The Silver Chair, you might recall we last saw our brave mighty girl, Jill Pole, being petted and cooed over by the Queen Giantess. Later, she is treated to what C. S. Lewis calls a dinner, though it was apparently closer to tea time. This substantial meal consisted of “hot roast turkey, and a steamed pudding, and roast chestnuts, and as much fruit as you could eat.” That sure does sound like a dinner to me, maybe one you would serve on a holiday like Thanksgiving. The first course is cock-a-leekie soup.

This is a traditional Scottish soup and quite hearty. Of course, it requires chicken and leeks; but it also has an unexpected ingredient—prunes. You might think they are an odd addition, but please don’t omit them! If you would like to make an easier, quicker version, use a 6-quart pot, 10 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, and a pound of chopped, cooked chicken; skip all of the preliminary chicken cooking.

“The House of Harfang’s Cock-a-Leekie Soup”

10 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

A whole chicken, about 4-5 pounds; rinse and remove giblets

 

Place all in 8-quart saucepan, with the giblets. Bring to a boil, then cook, covered, on medium heat 30 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook another 30 minutes on medium heat, covered. Drain into a large bowl; when cooler, measure out 10 cups. Set chicken in another bowl. When chicken is cool enough to handle; remove skin, and shred into bite-size chunks—you should end up with 4-5 cups worth of meat. Set aside. Discard all skin, bones, and giblets. Rinse out pot and re-use it.

 

¼ cup salted butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dry thyme (2 tablespoons fresh, minced)

About 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced

About 1 cup celery, thinly sliced

About 5 cups leeks, cleaned well and cut into ½” slices (use the white and light green parts)

10 cups prepared broth (add a little water, if necessary)

½ pound potato, cut into ½” cubes (peel or not; any type of potato is fine)

4 ounces prunes, coarsely chopped

½ cup quick barley

 

Melt butter and seasonings in the pot over rather high heat. Add the carrots through the leeks and sauté 10 minutes; stirring frequently, until the leeks brown just slightly. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, on a rolling simmer 30 minutes. Stir a few times. Add the reserved chicken and continue to cook, uncovered, 15-20 minutes, until everything is tender. Season, if desired. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; don’t freeze. Serves 6-8.

 

Photo of author Astrid Tuttle Winegar, creator of Middle-Earth Menu: Sweet and Savory Pork RoastAstrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is now available from Oloris Publishing and Amazon! For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. Visit her website for more information: Astrid Tuttle Winegar | Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. Staff Reporter.

 

 

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