Scotch Broth

08/02/2013 09:22

Scotch broth is a hearty, filling dish which originated in Scotland, but as with many old recipes it's ingredients can vary quite wildly. The essential elements of a scotch broth are Mutton /Lamb - cheaper cuts are used such the neck or shin. Pearl Barley - used to thicken the broth, Root vegetables of various kinds - carrots, turnips or swedes. Greens, particularly cabbage can also be added, usually towards the end of cooking to preserve flavour and texture.
To be at its best, Scotch broth should really be made the day before. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and tastes even better for it! Just scape the solidified fat off the surface and reheat the broth gently.

Neck of lamb is very similar to neck of mutton, with mutton just being an older lamb. Mutton tends to have more flavour. The neck is one of the tougher cuts and is generally sold as Stewing lamb or made into mince (ground) meat. Most recipes which require neck of lamb will need to be stewed or braised - this makes it deliciouly tender. In these cases 'on the bone' is best because the bone will contribute immensely to the flavour of the broth.

Serves 4

500g / 1lb 2oz Neck of Mutton or Lamb
55g / 2oz pearl barley
1 litre / 1 3/4 pints water
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 small swede or 2 turnips, peeled & chopped
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Remove as much of the fat as possible from the meat and cut the neck into four thick slices. Put it into a large saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum/foam that appears. Add the pearl barley and bay leaf, reduce the heat and cook gently, covered for 1 hour.

Add the vegetables and continue to cook for a further hour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the meat from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and strip the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and any fat or gristle. Return the meat back to the broth and reheat gently, seasoning to taste with salt & pepper. If serving now, ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle each bowl with chopped parsley.