Scotch broth

Scotch broth
Scotch broth is a hearty, filling dish which originated in Scotland, but as with many old recipes – it's ingredients can vary quite wildly.
This scotch broth recipe is not going to win prizes for glamour, or its good looks – but on a cold evening, this soothing broth can put a pleasing warmth in your stomach.
This however is a more traditional version, with pearl barley, lamb, leeks and carrots, and for a relatively small sum, can feed a very hungry table. Just remember to give it a good seasoning, with lots of black pepper and to serve it alongside some crusty bread.
You can use any cut of lamb, just try to cut most of the fat off before cooking it.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 6


  • 700 g lamb
  • 3 pints water
  • 55 g  pearl barley 
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 3 small turnips (diced)
  • 3 carrots (finely sliced)
  • 3 leeks (sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (to garnish)
  • salt & pepper 


  • Using a large saucepan, add the chopped lamb to the water before bringing it to the boil. As the meat cooks, foam may rise to the surface – skim this off as it occurs. 
  • Add the pearl barley to the pan, cover over and cook for an hour over a medium heat.
  • Add the chopped vegetables to the pan – seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cover the broth for a further hour – stirring on occasion to prevent any of the ingredients sticking to the pan. 
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb from the pan and take the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and add the meat to the broth. 
  • The scotch broth will keep will in the fridge for 7 days, but reheat thoroughly before serving.
  • Serve with lots of seasoning, a garnish of parsley, and a crusty piece of bread.
In Japan, pickled turnips are also popular and are sometimes stir fried with salt and soy sauce.