Traditionally Scotch broth is a bit of everything thrown into the pot and is quite a substantial soup. In bygone days, Scots would eat this as a main meal in modern times; many Scottish households still serve Scotch broth as a main meal of the day rather than a first course. Ingredients can be exchanged depending on your personal liking, it’s best made the day before to let the complete flavour to marinate through.
My granny Glen sometimes used to call it barley broth and always had a pan of broth on the go, I can even see in my mind the big black cast iron soup pan.
Even though a classic Scottish soup I think every household had their own recipe, this recipe is a blend of granny Glen’s and my mother’s.
I can remember being sent to the greengrocer for a fresh broth or soup mix this consisted of all the vegetable ingredients and a bunch of fresh thyme it changed almost weekly depending on what veg was available. This was in the days when the greengrocer and maybe his wife did some vegetable preparation and even boiled beetroots. Moreover, this was before convenience foods and supermarkets became popular.
Nowadays in the winter months, we make enough to last for a whole weeks worth of lunches and along with homemade wholemeal or crusty granary bread, it really sticks to your ribs, which is just what you want on a winter’s day. Oh, the barley we use isn’t pearl barley we think pot barley (see note) it is so much better with more flavour a creamier texture and very traditional in Scotland.
Serves/Makes: 10 to 12 servings
Prep-Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Cook-Time: 90 minutes or there about
You Will Need;
2 pounds of neck of mutton or lamb
4 ounces pot barley or if you must pearl barley, soaked overnight
3 ounces split green peas, (soaked overnight) or you can use fresh or frozen peas added near the end of cooking
2 tablespoons of cooking oil or to be more authentic beef dripping or lard
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, chopped
4 turnips, peeled and chopped
1 small Swede, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small bunch of fresh thyme, strip the leaves from the stalks we only want the leaves
2 tablespoon, chopped parsley
1 small cabbage, this is optional, but we like to use a small January king
6 pints of water, you might need more to let the finished broth down if you think it is too thick
Heat over a medium flame heat the lard or cooking oil and add the chopped onion and leek, once softened not browned add the water and the lamb bring to a boil, and skim off any fat from the top. After boiling for about 30 minutes add the soaked barley and peas bring back to a boil reduce the heat and simmer for another 30 minutes add the remaining vegetables and thyme leaves and season to taste and cook a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. If used, remove the bone, strip off the meat, and return to the pan discard the bone, add the parsley as a garnish before serving.
Pot barley is different from pearl barley this is the whole grain is a good source of protein, fibre and niacin (vitamin B3), as well as the trace minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It wants soaking overnight or for at least eight hours, just cover with boiling water, and leave to soak drain the following day. The soaking makes the barley more eatable and cuts down the cooking time.