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Scotch Broth Recipe

A traditional soup, made with mutton or lamb and thickened with pearl barley. With some good bread, it's a meal in itself. To be at its best, it should be made the day before. Any surplus fat will then have risen to the top, and can be removed.


For 6/8 helpings:

2 lbs/900gr Neck of Mutton or Lamb (the former will have more flavour, if you can find it); cut into pieces by your butcher
2 oz/60gr Pearl Barley, blanched in boiled water for 2 minutes
1 oz/30gr Green Split Peas, soaked in cold water overnight (optional)
4 pints/2.3 litres Water
½ lb/450gr large Carrots, peeled and diced
½ lb/450gr Turnips, peeled and diced
1 Leek, split half way down from the green end, carefully-washed, then chopped
2 Celery stalks, washed and chopped
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
1 teaspoon (5ml) freshly-ground Black Peppercorns
2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly-chopped Parsley


1. Put the meat in a saucepan, large enough to hold all the ingredients, and pour over the water.
2. Bring this to the boil over a medium heat, skimming off any scum as it comes to the surface.
3. Add the pepper, barley and the drained split peas – if using. Not the salt.
4. Reduce the heat, and maintain a simmer for 1½ hours.
5. Add the carrot, celery, leek, onion, turnip and salt.
6. Cook for a further ½ hour, or until the vegetables are tender.
7. Remove the meat with a perforated spoon, and when it's cold enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and return it to the pot – discarding the bones.

If serving now, sprinkle each bowl with a little chopped parsley. But as mentioned above, the soup is greatly improved if the fat is removed after an overnight rest.

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