Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cocky Leeky... soup?

A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Poor [1852]

Ah, Charles Elme Francatelli, LATE MAÎTRE D'HÔTEL AND CHIEF COOK TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN. He had such good intentions. He was so concerned for the welfare of the poor people, he wrote them a whole cookbook. His Yorkshire Pie-Clates were quite tasty. His No. 3 Economical Pot Liquor Soup, less so. Which dish shall break the tie, perhaps redeeming his cookbook for the deserving poor on this, Christmas Day?

Oh. Oh dear.

Cocky Leeky.
I hope that at some odd times you may afford yourselves an old hen or cock; and when this occurs, this is the way in which I recommend that it be cooked, viz.:—First pluck, draw, singe off the hairs, and tie the fowl up in a plump shape; next, put it into a boiling-pot with a gallon of water, and a pound of Patna rice, a dozen leeks cut in pieces, some peppercorns and salt to season; boil the whole very gently for three hours, and divide the fowl to be eaten with the soup, which will prove not only nourishing but invigorating to the system.

Verdict: Just... just give me a moment. Okay. All right. Don't make this. Really, really don't make this. Rice... was not meant to be boiled for 3 hours. It is an abomination. There was too much stuff for it to be a soup, so instead it is a mucusy sludge. It is a strange, squiggly feeling, watching it slither off one's flatware. The rice/leek mucus does not taste very much like chicken, more of faintly onioned watery rice.

The chicken was just fine, but had the distressing tendency to sink beneath the surface of the rice/leek mucus like an alligator in a swamp. Every time I tried to get a good bite of chicken, it was sucked into the mucus and slimed.

Now that that's over with, hey! Look at this cool leek!

It's curly inside! Neato! Have you ever seen a leek do this?

Now go. Enjoy Christmas! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, celebrate the 25th of December by not making this.


Heavenly said...

I have NEVER EVER seen cocky leeky soup that looks like that. :S

Jana said...

That is all for the best.

Nonna said...

Thanks for the warning...just crossed this off my "to-do" list !!!
( You are so brave to even try this )

Jana said...

Thanks! It seemed all right when I skimmed through the recipe... I didn't notice the obvious flaw then.

Tiferet said...

I made Cockaleekie once from a different recipe, and it didn't turn out well either. It wasn't congee (rice porridge--what happens when you boil rice that long, which I agree is disgusting but one of my exes loved), like yours. It was just so awful and bland and boring and ...white.

I was young and very broke. We had to eat it, the leeks and chicken were expensive. So I dumped it in a frying pan with oil, soy sauce and spices and turned it into chicken fried rice, which was edible.

Jana said...

I have now looked up congee, and agree with your assessment. Yikes. I also salute you for turning the horrid into the edible! It is a useful skill indeed.