The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

Scotch broth.

Broths and soups have been historically significant features of Scottish cuisine, more prevalent in Scotland than in the other nations of the British Isles. This tangy and soothing classic represents in its way the essence of traditional Scots cooking, and no other cuisine can boast of a better soup. Other than simmering the stock, this soup is a friendly snap. Simmering the stock is scary only because few people try to build stock anymore, but inexperience is no excuse. Making stock is simple and makes the house smell snug. You will want two days to make Scotch broth. Soup for six.


soup_pots017.jpg For the stock:

  • 2 lb stewing lamb on the bone (neck or shoulder)
  • 2 unpeeled carrots, washed and chopped
  • a chopped celery stalk
  • 3 halved, unpeeled onions
  • 2 small white turnips, peeled and quartered
  • a handful of whole black peppercorns
  • a generous splash of Worcestershire
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1½ quarts water

For the soup itself:

  • about ½ cup diced carrot
  • about ½ cup diced celery
  • about 1 cup leeks cut into thin crescents
  • about 1½ cups diced onion
  • about 1½ cups diced yellow turnip
  • 3-4 generous Tablespoons barley
  • the diced lamb from making the stock
  • minced parsley

  1. Dump all the ingredients for the stock into a big pot, bring it all to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and simmer the nascent stock for two hours or so.
  2. Skim and strain the stock, then remove the meat from the bones and dice it.
  3. Refrigerate the stock (and of course the meat, separately) overnight, then remove the fat that has congealed in a solid cap.
  4. Dump the stock (but not the diced lamb) into a big pot with all the ingredients for the soup except the parsley, bring the soup to a boil and then simmer it until the vegetables are just tender, usually in about 45 minutes.
  5. Add the lamb to the soup, bring it to a boil for a second, add the parsley and then serve it up.

 

Notes:

- It is hardly traditional, but a slug of decent Scotch whisky added with the lamb add a beguiling layer of flavor.

-Some people labor under the misapprehension that they dislike barley. They are starcrossed but unredeemable so do not try to serve them Scotch broth.

-If you have some leftover lamb, for instance from a boiled or roast leg, cut the meat from the bone and in the case of boiled lamb use its liquid as a base for the stock instead of water. If you had roasted a leg, cut away the meat and make the stock with the bone.

-Jane Garmey allows her reader of Great British Food to substitute beef for lamb and adds cabbage to her Scotch broth. Anathema.