A traditional Scotch Broth, like all good country soups from the farmhouse, was made with whatever was in season – a little meat, barley and vegetables are the only real essentials to this broth. However, the recipe below does make a classic Scotch Broth, incorporating all of the ingredients expected, slow cooked and simmered so that by the evening it is ready to eat with a little freshly baked bread. This broth is perhaps one of the more famous, and eagerly anticipated broths when being made, of Scotland – it is highly seasoned, with soft meat and vegetables and thickened with barley. Make it with lamb or mutton shoulder, but traditionally it is scrag-end of lamb used, cook it in the broth still on the bone, which is removed towards the end, and the soft meat cut up and returned.
Scotch Broth Recipe
Serves 6. The best Scotch Broth’s have the impurities, which rise to the top when simmering, frequently skimmed off to clear it.
- 1 Kg Lamb Shoulder or traditionally Scrag-end of Lamb (left on the bone, trimmed of all excess fat)
- 1 litre lamb stock
- 1 litre water
- 125g pearl barley (soaked in water overnight)
- 125g dried green peas (soaked in water overnight)
- Bouquet garni (herb bag)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ground sea-salt and black pepper (to taste)
- 1 Large Leek (cleaned and sliced)
- 2 medium onions (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 turnip (peeled and diced small)
- 2 large carrots (peeled and diced small)
- 125g cabbage (shredded)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (to garnish)
The night before put the pearl barley and the dried green peas into a bowl and cover with plenty of water to soak. In the morning drain and rinse under cold running water.
Trim the lamb shoulder, or scrag end of lamb, of any excess fat and add to the saucepan including the bones.
Place the meat in a large, heavy-based saucepan and add the water, lamb stock, the drained barley and green peas, bay leaf and bouquet garni. Season with plenty of ground sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the pan slowly to the boil, and skim off any impurities rising from the surf ace, cover with a lid and simmer for 2 hours.
After 2 hours add the chopped leek, onion, turnip and carrots to the broth. Stir in the thyme leaves. Continue to simmer for a further 2 hours, occasionally skimming of any impurities which rise to the surface.
– After 4 hours remove the meat from the broth, with a slotted spoon into a bowl or on a cutting board, and leave it to stand until it is cool enough to handle. Strip the meat from the bones and cut it into small pieces. Return the cut up meat to the broth –
Towards the end, remove the bouquet garni and bay leaf – add the shredded cabbage. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Simmer for another 30 minutes. To serve transfer the hot Scotch Broth to a serving bowl(s). Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.