Scotch Broth: The Meaty Soup You Need During Season Change
Image Credit: Scotch Broth is a filling soup originating in Scotland. Image Credits: Unsplash

A few years back, on a cold winter evening, I was on the lookout for a heart-warming, filling dish that I didn’t have to put too much effort into. Flipping through an old cookbook, I stumbled upon the recipe for a traditional Scotch Broth. This slow-cooked soup—yes, it’s more of a soup despite its name—is also known as Scots Barley Broth, and is traditionally prepared with mutton, barley and a variety of vegetables. 

The first mention of this recipe comes from a 1755 cookbook by Elizabeth Cleland, Scotland: A New and Easy Method of Cookery. While today, this broth comes in a can across the United Kingdom, traditionally, it was a winter dish for the common folks. Apart from mutton and barley, the recipe called for a variety of winter veggies—peas, carrots, turnips—along with herbs. When the potato arrived in Europe around the end of the sixteenth century, it naturally made its way into the Scotch Broth. 

Given the fact that this dish is slow cooked and vegetable-heavy, it easily transformed into a filling dinner during winters for me. Around the end of the season, when the flu and a plethora of allergies come up due to season change, I once again took to making this soup—this time out of necessity. Since it is packed with meat, a carbohydrate like barley, and a number of vegetables, the soup is an immunity booster for sure. If you have one of those end of winter colds or coughs, a hot bowl of Scotch Broth is sure to clear it up in no time. 

The recipe itself if simple enough, so anybody who can chop up veggies and put a pressure cooker on, can easily cook this one up. Here’s the recipe.


200 g mutton, with bones

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 large potato, chopped

½ cup green peas

1 large turnip, chopped

1 leek, chopped

½ cup cabbage, chopped

½ cup barley

¼ cup split peas or chana dal

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp parsley

2.5 litres water

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste


1. Place the washed and cleaned mutton pieces in a large, covered pot. Add the water and put it on a medium flame.

2. Once the water comes to a boil, add the barley, split peas and salt, and let the broth cook for an hour. Switch off the flame and let the broth cool down.

3. Take out the mutton pieces and take the meat off the bones. Put the meat back in with the barley broth.

4. Now, heat the butter in a pressure cooker, then gradually add all the vegetables, starting with the onions.

5. Mix well, add salt, pepper and then pour in the mutton-barley broth.

6. Seal the pressure cooker, then cook the broth for 1 whistle.

7. Once the cooker cools down, open the lid and taste the broth. Adjust the salt and pepper, and add the parsley. Serve hot with dinner rolls.