Now that the mercury has taken a dive - colds and flus are on their way again. I'm a big believer in "Jewish penicillin" or chicken soups in all it's guises. Today I made the Scottish version - Cockaleekie. Literally Chicken & Leek Soup. It does has the curious addition of prunes (why?). So today I made it - prunes and all.
We are fortunate enough to have a pressure cooker in our kitchen and nothing is better for making chicken soup - the whole process (incl a whole chicken) is done in 40 minutes. Steaming preserves up to 90% of nutrients and there is such an intensity of flavours, usually lost through boiling.
Recipe for Cockaleekie Soup
1 organic or free-range chicken
2 sticks of celery
2 sliced carrots
3 sliced leeks
2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tbsp E.V.O. Oil
2 cups water
salt & pepper to taste
18 pitted prunes
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Heat olive oil in the base of the pressure cooker and brown all sides of the chicken. Remove and put on a plate
When using a pressure cooker, put all the veg and the water in the base and place the chicken on top of the trivet
Bring to the boil, put the lid on and set to high pressure and once it starts whistling, reduce heat to medium-low maintaining a gentle hiss from the lid.
Simmer for 20 minutes, take off the heat.
Use the quick-release method to stop the chicken cooking. This is done by taking the pressure cooker to the sink and running cold water over the outside. You will see the pressure releases fast!Once the safety indicator has fallen, i.e. pressure is released, return pan to the stovetop and open carefully. Tilt the lid away from your face because there will still be some really hot steam!
Once cool enough, remove chicken and strip off all the meat.
Add enough water to half fill the pot, add the stripped chicken and bring to the boil and take off the heat. Season to taste.
Put 3 prunes in the bases of the soup bowls. Add soup, finish with chopped parsley.