Farmersgirl Kitchen

How to make Scotch Broth like a Scot

Scottish, Soup, Vegetarian | January 10, 2016 | By

Growing up in Scotland in the 1960s and early 70s, there were two types of soup served at every Scottish table:  Lentil Soup and Scotch Broth. There are as many variations of both lentil soup and Scotch Broth as there are cooks in Scotland, I like my soup so that ‘your spoon can stand up in it’, as my Dad would say, thick and unctuous, I know others prefer a lighter broth.  

Scotch Broth, a thick and warming soup

I generally make these soups without a recipe, throwing in whatever vegetables are in my fridge, however today I thought I would take more care, note the quantities and share with you how this Scots woman makes Scotch Broth.

Ingredients for Scotch Broth

Let’s start with the ingredients, as you can see they are fairly simple.  You can buy broth mix for Scotch Broth in most supermarkets, the pack I used contained 55% Pearly Barley, 18% Yellow Split peas, 9% Green Split Peas, 9% Blue Peas and 9% Red Split Lentils.  Blue peas are the same peas used for Green Split peas, but whole and with the skin left on.  I would recommend soaking the broth mix overnight in lots of cold water although, if you forget, you can boil them in some water for 20 minutes then leave to soak for two hours before starting your soup. 

Scotch Broth pulses soaked

A  large onion is essential, as are the carrots,  celery is always fabulous in soup but if you don’t have any then you can still make Scotch Broth without it. I’m not a purist, the recipe I’m giving is the one I usually make, however you can add other root vegetables if you wish, turnip, swede, parsnip will all work well.  

Kale is a very traditional ingredient for Scotch Broth and should be added at the end of cooking so it retains it bright green colour and all the nutrients.  If you don’t have any kale, then spinach or parsley will add that lift of colour, again you can serve the soup without the greenery but it does add to the flavour.

Diced carrots and celery

There’s no need to peel carrots for soup, just wash them and top and tail, then quarter the carrots lengthways and dice.

vegetables and Scotch broth mix in pan

As you can see I make a LOT of soup, my pot of soup will serve 8-10 hearty portions, so I make it in my pressure cooker.  If you don’t have a pressure cooker then you can make it in a large soup or stock pan, or you can half the ingredients and use a smaller pan.  It is worth making a large quantity, as you can keep some in the fridge for workday lunches or freeze it for another day. 

If  I was truly sticking with tradition then the stock should be made with neck of mutton or lamb, some people swear by beef skirt or even chicken, but I’m keeping this recipe vegetarian and using vegetable stock cubes.

Scotch Broth
Serves 8
A thick soup made with vegetables, grains and pulses.
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Ingredients
  1. 200g broth mix, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
  2. 500g carrots, diced
  3. 2 sticks celery, diced
  4. 1 tbsp oil
  5. 2.5 litres vegetable stock
  6. 200g chopped kale
  7. salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or pressure cooker.
  2. Add the onions and saute on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the celery and carrots and saute them with the onion for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the broth mix and stock, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. If using a pressure cooker, cook on low pressure for 25 minutes.
  6. If cooking without pressure, simmer gently for approximately 40 minutes or until the grains and pulses are soft.
  7. Add the kale and leave to cook in the residual heat of the soup for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Check seasoning and adjust as required.
  9. Serve with wholemeal bread, bannocks or oatcakes.
Notes
  1. If you don't have any kale, you can add other green leaves or chopped parsley. The soup can also be served without greenery.
  2. Any root vegetables can be added to this soup and any type of stock can be used.
Farmersgirl Kitchen http://farmersgirlkitchen.co.uk/

I’m entering my Scotch Broth for Super Soup the soup linky run by Jo’s Kitchen 

No Croutons required

Also for No Croutons Required, the January edition is being hosted by Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen next month it will be with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes

 

Scotch Broth

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Bethan
    January 10, 2016

    Looks very hearty, probably just as good in wet and cold Welsh weather

    • Leave a Reply

      Eliza Bradley
      February 1, 2016

      I live in Scotland and make scotch broth with all your pulses but just use diced carrot and turnip and grated carrot to thicken .No onion No celery No kale! And use boiling beef

      • Leave a Reply

        Janice Pattie
        February 1, 2016

        That sounds delicious Eliza, as I said there are as many recipes as there are Scots!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Galina V
    January 11, 2016

    Delicious! It is very similar to the Russian pearl barley soup, only without lentils and kale. In winter you can add a chopped gherkin to the soup.
    Galina V recently posted…Teletubbies Toys are here!My Profile

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      January 11, 2016

      Thanks Galina. I think every country will have a similar soup, very much peasant food and none the worse for that!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Sammie
    January 12, 2016

    Scotch broth is one of my favourite soups EVER and shame on me for never having made it! True I am used to it with a small amount of lamb in it – since our girls have asked that we abstain from eating lamb, in any shape or form, I will make this veggie version. Thank you for reminding me what a great soup this is. Sammie.
    Sammie recently posted…Chocolate Heart CakeMy Profile

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      January 12, 2016

      It is lovely made with meat, but quicker and easier to make a veggie version, obviously also more acceptable to your girls too.

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      January 12, 2016

      Thanks Sus, pearl barley is a great grain.

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      January 12, 2016

      Gosh I have no idea Ali, it’s a piece of material that I used to make a tablecloth! Thanks for your kind comment about the Scotch Broth.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Laura@howtocookgoodfood
    January 12, 2016

    I love a good Scotch broth and used to make it loads with neck of lamb. Need to get making this in my Teermocook next, such a good hearty soup!

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      January 12, 2016

      Thanks Dom, it’s a great soup for the weekend as a hunk of bread makes it a meal! I’ll be over to see your authentic millionaires truffles from authentic millionaires lol!

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      January 13, 2016

      Nice to be reminded of those favourites. I’m sure this or something similar is made by most cultures and remember we celts of Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany are all related 😉

  5. Leave a Reply

    Holly
    February 2, 2016

    Oh yum!! I’ve just been trolling the web looking for something to make for supper. This is the winner. I don’t have a scotch mix but I believe I have most of the ingredients in my cupboard. I’m also going to forward this recipe to a good friend who is mostly vegetarian and loves everything scottish. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      February 2, 2016

      That’s lovely Holly, I’m so pleased that the recipe is what you were looking for.

      • Leave a Reply

        Kim
        September 22, 2016

        Hi this looks so good but I’m in a house hold of 4 growing sons, how would you cook the beef skirt please?

    • Leave a Reply

      Kim
      September 22, 2016

      Sorry that was worded badly lol, the recipe looks awesome, but my 4 growing sons are meat lovers. How would I cook the beef skirt to go in the broth? Can’t wait to batch cook this. Will be amazing on the cold nights to come.

      • Leave a Reply

        Janice Pattie
        September 22, 2016

        Hi Kim, no problem. I would brown the beef skirt in a little oil then continue with the recipe. Once the soup is cooked, take out the meat, shred and return to the pot.
        If you don’t want to cook the meat in the soup then simply add leftover beef from a roast or stew and the end of cooking. Enjoy!

        • Leave a Reply

          Kim
          September 25, 2016

          Thank you for your help look forward to feeding my tribe this on a cold snuggley night.

          • Janice Pattie
            September 26, 2016

            You are welcome Kim

  6. Leave a Reply

    Niki
    February 9, 2016

    This looks wonderful, especially since it’s snowing where I live. I’ll have to scout for a similar mix in my rural midwest grocery store! Thanks for sharing.
    Niki recently posted…Table Manners: The NapkinMy Profile

    • Leave a Reply

      Janice Pattie
      February 9, 2016

      thanks Niki, definitely soup weather!

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