Monday, December 12, 2011

Victorian Soup For Supper

Once upon a time, I enjoyed lunch in a tea room in Louisiana with my mother, and she ordered Cock-a-leekie Soup for her entree. I had never heard of this before, but it turned out to be delicious. This tea room is a place I enjoyed visiting practically every time I went "home" to see my folks. I eventually bought their cookbook.

Sharon McCullar, the owner of the Glenwood Village Tearoom, says in her cookbook that her restaurant specializes in Victorian Era recipes dating from 1860 to 1903. The recipes, or receipts as the Victorians called them, are slightly altered so that we may reproduce them in a modern kitchen. I had purchased some leeks for another occasion, an all-day meeting with dinner-on-the-grounds at our church, and I forgot to use the leeks in the dish I cooked for that! So I needed to use them up...Tonight for supper I decided to try to replicate this interestingly-named soup at my home. I started early in the afternoon, preparing the chicken. I had to take my daughter to her piano lesson and let the chicken boil while we were gone. I also cut up the leeks in advance, so I could quickly prepare the soup when we returned home from her lesson.

Simmering the leeks in butter produces a Delicious, mouth-watering aroma!

In looking online for other recipes, I found out that this is a Scottish contribution to the cooking world. There are many variations on the basic recipe, but the original seems to call for prunes! The Glenwood recipe I used called for prunes cut into strips- - instead of playing around with the recipe, I followed it as precisely as possible and added the prunes, hoping for the best!

Sure enough, when we began to eat our supper, my husband said, "What's this in here? Is it PRUNES??!" But they did not ruin the flavor- they must add some subtle thing because I could not pick their taste out of the whole. It was very delicious- all of us enjoyed it, even the children. So the prunes go in next time, too!

Here's a link to the Glenwood Tea Room- - by the way, it is for sale! Sharon will give six months of on-site consultation to the right buyer...

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