Oh my gosh! Where has the time gone? I haven’t posted one little morsel since Halloween! How has that happened? It isn’t like I’ve been off traveling or even out of the house really – Thank you Covid! Yet somehow I’ve been busy. And here we are at January 25th, 2021! Well, at least I’m here now – whatever that may count for and I’m back with a delicious recipe! Cock-a-leekie Pie is Scottish comfort food at its finest.
This big hearty pie boasts a creamy chicken and leek filling which is shot through with savory crumbles of bacon all wrapped up in a perfect buttery flaky crust. Be still my heart!
And January 25th is perfect timing for a Scottish recipe. That’s right- today is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. Indeed, this Cock-a-Leekie Pie would be a very welcome addition to any Burns Night Supper. I’ve actually posted quite a few tasty Burns Night dishes in the past. Like remember my Steak Auld Reekie served over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:
Or how about these Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas? This post is really fun because it is one of my travel postings telling you all about a fun trip (remember when we used to be able to travel…) we took to Glasgow a few years ago.
And if you are intrigued by Scottish travel – just take a look at these Scottish Oat Cakes which are featured in my post about our journey to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands for their annual Up Helly Aa celebration, which is a Viking Fire Festival. How exciting it that?!! (Sadly, yet understandably, Up Helly Aa 2021 has been cancelled. Yup…thanks once again Covid.)
Back to more Burns Night recipes, how about some infamous Scotch Eggs:
Perhaps you would like your Scotch eggs deviled?
Or maybe nestled within a pie?
If pie is not your thing (and I have no idea what you’re like if it isn’t…), how about this Cock-a-leekie Soup:
which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.
And for dessert, could I possibly tempt you with Chranachan. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)
Or maybe you’d enjoy this Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade
I think you get the picture. My blog is chock full of inspirational tasty Scottish dishes! But let me get back to today’s offering: Cock-a-Leekie Pie.
The husband loves every sort of pie, but prefers the savory ones to the sweet. And he is over the moon for anything with leeks in it (must be his Welsh blood). So this pie is right up his alley. So hearty and filling. So creamy and savory. You might pause when you notice that prunes are in the ingredients, but don’t leave them out whatever you do. Their sweetness is a wonderful compliment to the silky leek chicken mixture and salty bacon.
Now I realize, I didn’t give you much time to get this recipe done for this evening. Sorry about that. I believe it was Robbie Burns who said:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley –
(Translation: The best laid plans of Mice and Men often go awry)
Robert Burns (To a Mouse)
So please do forgive me that once again my best laid plans have gang aft agley! If you can’t whip this up this evening, please do bake it when you can. Believe me, you won’t be sorry. And tonight, no matter what your dinner plans might be, join me in raising a wee dram and toast to Robert Burns, Scotlands favorite son.
recipe slightly adapted from: Bon Appetit
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 slices bacon cut into ¼” pieces
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced into rounds
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
- ½ cup quartered pitted prunes
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, plus more
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 batch of Perfect Flaky Pie Crust – recipe follows
- 1 egg – for brushing over top crust
Make one batch of Perfect Flaky Pie Crust (recipe noted below). Place dough in refrigerator for at least one hour or up to two days.
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook bacon until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in same skillet until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Add a splash of water to skillet. Cover, reduce heat, and cook until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes, or internal temperature 165°. Transfer to a plate.
Add leeks to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook until leeks are very soft, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Shred chicken and add to leeks along with thyme leaves, prunes, and reserved bacon.
Melt remaining 4 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in ⅓ cup flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisk in broth, adding a little at a time, until smooth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5–7 minutes. Mix sauce into leek mixture; season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Remove pie dough from refrigerator. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14” round. Transfer to a 10” cast-iron skillet or a 9½”-diameter deep pie dish. Lift up edge and let dough slump down into dish. Trim, leaving a 1” overhang. Spoon filling into skillet. Roll out second disk of dough to 11” round. Drape over filling and trim to a 1” overhang. Fold overhang under; crimp with a fork or roll crust as I did. Cut a few vents in top; brush with egg.
Bake until crust is golden brown, 50–60 minutes. Let pie cool slightly.
Perfect Flaky Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
- 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
- 2 Tablespoons ice water
Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.
Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).
Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).
Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.
Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).
Cock-a-Leekie Pie brought to you today by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cock-a-Leekie Pie:
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale