A huge pot hung over the fire which leapt in a shining
black-and-steel range. A black kettle stood on one hob, a brown teapot on the
other. Steam rose gently from the kettle and thickly from the great black pot,
whence also came a continuous ‘plupping’ noise and the wonderful smell of a
There has long been a great tradition of soup making and eating
in Scotland. There are many reasons for this. Before people started to live in
large cities it was usual for everyone to own a small garden and to grow
sufficient vegetables for the household needs. It was typical of the Scottish
housewife, who has always been thrifty and able to make much out of little, to
pot of soup out of a
little meat or a bone and her own
feed a family on good nourishing fare. A century ago in the Highlands and outer
isles, where the wind and the rain made gardening very difficult, the
industrious housewife would use young nettles or
wild sorrel or kail
to replace the cultivated varieties of vegetables so common in Scotland today.
Oats are also widely used as a thickener in soups
‘Do you like your Scotch Broth,
‘Ah! Very good for hogs, I believe.’
‘Then let me help you to a little more.’
Somewhat surprisingly, we find
that this was an item which found great favour with Samuel Johnson. Boswell
writes: " At dinner Dr Johnson ate several platefuls of Scotch broth with pease
in them, and was very fond of the dish. I said, "you never ate it before, sir."
"No, sir, but I don't care how soon I eat it again."
Scotch Broth is a bit of everything thrown
into the pot and is quite a filling soup. In olden days Scots would eat this as
a main meal. In modern times many Scottish households still serve Scotch Broth
as a main meal rather than a starter soup. Ingredients can be substituted
depending on your own tastes. It's best made the day before to allow the full
flavour to soak through. Make a huge pot of it and boil it up each day, adding
more tatties and water as needed. It is very warming when eaten during the
winter and is popular on New Year’s Day. Scotch broth soup is sometimes called
Barley Broth soup.
1. Pre soak the barley and split peas
2. Chop all the vegetables
3. Melt a wee bit of lard/cooking oil and add the
chopped onion. Once softened add the water and meat (you can just add stock
rather than boil meat) and boil, skimming off any fatty deposits from the top.
4. After boiling for about half an hour add the barley and peas and simmer for
another 30 minutes.
5. Add the remaining vegetables.
6. If used, remove the bone and strip off the meat and return this to the pot.
7. Some people might be tempted to give a dog the bone after making Scotch
Broth. However the boiling of the bone weakens it, making it softer and causing
fragments to come off when chewed by an animal. This stock bone could cause
mouth ulceration, choking or tears to the lining of the stomach wall from bone
fragments and cause dogs pain and discomfort.
8. Add parsley before serving. Great with warmed bread rolls.
9. If making a big pot full it'll keep provided you boil and stir each day.
Though to be safe it would probably best be kept in the fridge or individual
portions could be deep frozen and used as needed.
One runner of beef or a good fresh marrow bone,
makes as good broth as either beef or mutton,
5 quarts cold water, 1 cupful well-washed pearl barley.
When water is hot, put in beef and barley, and salt to taste; skim well;
Chop up six Brussels sprouts, 1 small cabbage or savoy, I small head of curley
greens, and 3 leeks;
Cut and dice 1 good slice of swede turnip and 1 carrot;
Put in other 2 slices of turnip whole, and mash well afterwards as a vegetable.
Let the broth boil for a few minutes after vegetables are added with lid off.
Cook thoroughly and slowly, and skim now and again; attention to this makes such
a difference to flavour.
Boil 3 hours, taking meat out when cooked 2 hours, and re-heating at the last.
Then 15 minutes before ready add I carrot grated and a good tablespoonful minced
Lift meat on to a hot dish, and serve with a little broth round it.
(If broth is for persons of weak digestion, scald vegetables before adding to
broth by covering them for 10 minutes with boiling water.)
soup recipe is
cheap to make and really filling. The secret to a good thick tattie soup is
preparation and the use of a good base stock, though modern cooks may prefer to
use stock cubes bought from the supermarket.
Mutton stock would have traditionally been used for tattie soup but the use of
chicken stock is more readily available. Try chopped chives or parsley for the
Ingredients For Soup Stock
Seasoning of salt and pepper.
Two chopped carrots.
A chopped turnip.
A chopped onion and celery stick.
How To Make Soup Stock
After about three hours add the finely chopped vegetables and
simmer for another two hours. Still keep skimming off the fat that rises to the
surface of the pan. Remove from the
heat and sieve the liquid into a new pan. Throw out the bones and vegetables.
Please don't be tempted to keep the veggies for future soup, it will be
tasteless because all the goodness is now in your soup stock.
It is easy to make soup stock though a little messy and time intense. Many cooks
use left over carcasses from chicken or joints such as lamb or in olden days
beef. Others use raw bones from the butcher. Whichever is used place the bones
in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add the seasoning and bring to the
boil and then simmer. During this time skim off the fatty scum and discard.
Ingredients For Tattie Soup
Four large chopped and quartered tatties.
One finely chopped leek.
One finely chopped onion.
Two stalks of finely chopped celery.
About 200mls of milk.
50g of butter.
Seasoning of salt, pepper, a bay leaf and fresh parsley for the garnish.
Prepare the vegetables by
peeling, washing and chopping the potatoes, celery, onion and leek.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
Sauté the onion until it goes yellow brown and soft.
Add the other vegetables, including the potatoes, and place the lid over the pan
and continue to sauté the veg over a low heat for about ten minutes to soften
Add the stock, seasoning and bay leaf. Bring gently to the boil then reduce the
heat to simmer for about an hour. Remove the bay leaf.
Add the milk and if needed another 50g or 100g of butter depending on your
preference. Turn up the heat but not enough to boil, just enough of a
temperature to warm back up the soup mixture.
Serve and garnish with the parsley or chives and enjoy the tattie soup with your
Spicy Red Lentil Soup Ingredients:
1 medium sized onion
3 medium carrots and potatoes
1 red pepper
125g red lentils (soak for 1 hour prior to cooking)
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of turmeric
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A 400g can of tomatoes
750ml of water or vegetable stock (Ham Cubes
or Boiled Ham Bree)
1 teaspoon of basil
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1. Chop the vegetables finely.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil and fry spices.
3. Add vegetables and lentils and stir and coat vegetables with
spices. Cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Cut up tomatoes, put them in a measuring jug and add enough water or stock to
make 1.2 litres.
5. Add this with basil and bay leaf to pan of vegetables. Bring to the boil and
simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water or stock if necessary.
Cock a Leekie Soup
is a delicious winter warming soup from Scotland often served as
a starter at Scottish events such as Burns Night, St Andrews Night and as a
Hogmanay treat. Cock a Leekie soup dates back to the 16th century when a fowl
would be boiled with vegetables such as leeks to provide a filling broth and
this is why Cock a Leekie soup is so named.
A traditional Scottish Cock a Leekie soup recipe includes prunes though some
cooks will leave the prunes out of their recipe because they are not to
everyone's taste. Other chefs will include the prunes in the cooking of Cock a
Leekie soup but will remove them before serving the soup.
Ingredients For Cock a Leekie soup
One whole chicken or several pieces of uncooked and boned chicken wings, legs or
400g of leeks
100g of precooked prunes that have had their stones removed
25g of rice
2 litres of water or soup stock
One teaspoon of brown sugar
Seasoning of salt and pepper, one bay leaf and some thyme
Parsley for the garnish
Optional ingredients: Three rashers of chopped streaky bacon
Place the chicken into a large pot and add the soup stock or water. Bring to the
boil. As any fatty scum appears at the top of the pot of Cock a Leekie remove
Wash the leeks and roughly chop into about 2cm pieces, using the green and white
pieces, though some cooks prefer just to use the whites of the leeks. Once the
chicken or chicken pieces have been boiling for about one hour add the chopped
leeks and the herbs of bay leaf and thyme and bring back to the boil and then
simmer for two hours. The salt and pepper if used can be added at this stage of
the recipe for Cock a Leekie soup. If used the bacon should be thinly chopped
and added to the soup pot.
Serving the broth in bowls whilst serving the chicken on a
platter and carved at the table to be put into the soup depending on the taste
of each person. Avoid over cooking the chicken producing tough meat.
During the simmering of this recipe for Cock a Leekie soup if the water goes
down and the fowl or leeks are exposed then top up the water or soup stock.
Test to see if the chicken has cooked by piercing the skin with a fork. No blood
should come out and the fork should pierce the flesh easily.
Take out the chicken, giblets or chicken pieces and the bay leaf. Set aside and
save some chicken pieces to serve with the Cock a Leekie soup. The rest of the
chicken can be used for other recipes, such as a Cock a Leekie pie.
Add the rice, there is no need to cook it separately as it will cook during the
simmering. If you are using the traditional way to cook Cock a Leekie soup then
drain the prunes of their juice and add the sliced prunes. Simmer for about
thirty minutes. Once all the ingredients have cooked then add some thin chicken
strips to the pot. Simmer for about ten more minutes and then serve with your
favourite bread and garnish with some chopped parsley.
Cock a Leekie Soup
2 cups dried lentils or peas
3 lbs. ham or beef bone
1/2 cup diced celery
1 small onion, diced
1 cup cut carrots
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Wash lentils or peas & soak
overnight in cold water. Drain. Add the recipe water & bones. Heat to boiling.
Simmer 2 hours.
Add greens (celery) & carrots & simmer until lentils or peas are tender. Skim
all fat from soup.
Remove bones, cut off any meat, dice it, & return diced meat to the soup. Saute
onions, then add flour, salt and pepper.
Mix well. Slowly add one cup hot soup stock to onion mixture, cook until thick &
smooth & return thickened mixture to rest of hot soup.
2 heads of curly kail
Half a pint beef stock
A little cream or top of the milk
Salt and pepper.
Boil the kail and sieve or chop very finely. Put back in pan and sprinkle in
oatmeal. Add boiling stock. Stir well, season and add cream or milk. Serve with
oatcakes and butter.
Scottish Herring Soup
2 small onions, finely chopped.
4 herrings, cleaned and boned.
1 oz butter.
2 oz mushrooms.
14 oz can tomatoes.
1 pint water.
3 tablespoons malt vinegar.
Salt and pepper.
Cut the herrings into 1/2 inch
pieces and add with other ingredients to water. Bring to the boil and simmer
gently for about 30 minutes until onions are ready.
is one of Scotland's best
soups: full-flavoured, hearty, and comfortingly creamy, it's just the thing to
warm your cockles after a hard day's work on the Moray Firth – or even at the
500g undyed smoked haddock,
A bay leaf
Knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and
1 leek, washed and cut into chunks
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into
500ml whole milk
Chives, chopped, to serve
1. Put the fish into a pan
large enough to hold it comfortably, and cover with about 300ml cold water. Add
the bay leaf, and bring gently to the boil. By the time it comes to the boil,
the fish should be just cooked – if it's not, then give it another minute or so.
Remove from the pan, and set aside to cool. Take the pan off the heat.
2. Melt the butter in another
pan on a medium-low heat, and add the onion and the leek. Cover and allow to
sweat, without colouring, for about 10 minutes until softened. Season with
3. Add the potato and stir to
coat with butter. Pour in the haddock cooking liquor and bay leaf, and bring to
a simmer. Cook until the potato is tender.
4. Meanwhile, remove the skin,
and any bones from the haddock, and break into flakes.
5. Lift out a generous slotted
spoonful of potatoes and leeks, and set aside. Discard the bay leaf. Add the
milk, and half the haddock to the pan, and either mash roughly or blend until
6. Season to
taste, and serve with a generous spoonful of the potato, leek
and haddock mixture
in each bowl, and a sprinkling of chives.
2 small or 1 large Finnan Haddocks
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pt milk
Cooked mashed potato to thicken
2 oz butter
Salt and pepper
Garnish: some cream and chopped parsley
Place the fish and onion in water and bring to the boil.
Simmer gently until the fish is cooked.
Remove the fish, take off the skin and bones and return to the stock.
Simmer for another 20 minutes.
Add potatoes to give a creamy consistency.
Meanwhile flake the fish roughly and finally add to the soup.
Garnish with cream and parsley.
Check seasoning and serve on buttered toast.,
If desired the
fish may be served whole and the
eggs scrambled as an accompaniment.
Skink in English
Skink with Cranachan
Boyndie Broth (Oatmeal Soup)
A very economical, velvety and elegant soup which is quickly and easily
prepared. The addition of good undyed smoked haddock or smoked salmon makes a
good alternative to Cullen Skink.
50g (2oz) Scottish Porridge Oats
1 chopped onion
1 large carrot grated
2 tablespoons butter
550ml (1 pint) chicken stock
550ml (1 pint) milk
Salt and white pepper
Chopped chives or parsley
Cream for finishing (optional)
Melt butter in a large pan over a low heat. Add onions and carrot and cook
gently until soft. Add oats to pan and cook for about four minutes, stirring
frequently. Add stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes. Add milk and
heat through. Season to taste. Add chives or parsley, and a little cream if
The above makes a thick broth - use less oats and more stock if you prefer a
OR SHEEP’S HEAD BROTH - 1826
Sheep’s head and trotters, mutton, barley, peas, carrot, turnips, onions,
Sheeps' heads are not skinned in
Scotland but singed only and this gives the good flavour to the broth.
Choose a large, fat, young head.
When carefully singed by the blacksmith, soak it and the singed trotters for a
night, if you please, in lukewarm water. Take out the glassy part of the eyes,
scrape the head and trotters, and brush till perfectly clean and white; then
split the head with a cleaver, and lay aside the brains, etc., clean the
nostrils and gristly parts, split also the trotters, and cut out the tendons.
Wash the head and feet once more, and let them blanch till wanted for the pot.
Take a large cupful of barley, and about twice that quantity of soaked white, or
old, or fresh green peas, with a gallon or rather more of water. Put to this the
head, and from two to three pounds of scrag or trimmings of mutton, perfectly
sweet, and some salt. Take off the scum very carefully as it rises, and the
broth will be as limpid and white as any broth made of beef or mutton. When the
head has boiled rather more than an hour, add sliced carrot and turnip, and
afterwards some onions and parsley shred. A head or two of celery sliced is
admired by some modern gourmands, though we would rather approve of the native
flavour of this really excellent soup. The more slowly the head is boiled, the
better will both the meat and the soup be. From two to three hours’ boiling,
according to the size of the head and the age of the animal, and an hour’s
simmering by the side of the fire, will finish the soup. Many prefer the head of
a ram to that of a wether, but it requires much longer boiling. In either case
the trotters require less boiling than the head. Serve with the trotters and
sliced carrot round the head. Sheep’s head, not too much boiled, makes an
excellent ragout or hash of a higher flavour than calf’s head ragout.
1 sheeps' head
1 chopped mixed root vegetables
8oz diced peeled potatoes
1 chopped onion or small leek
3 quarts cold water
2 tablespoons fine oatmeal
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 Singe the sheeps' head thoroughly.
2 Brush well.
3 Place in a bowl of cold salted water and leave
4 Clean well under running cold water.
5 Drain well, pat dry.
6 Place in a large pan of cold salted water.
7 Bring to the boil.
8 Skim off any scum.
9 Cover and simmer for 1 hour, skimming several
times if necessary.
10 Add the diced vegetables..
11 Add the barley and oats.
12 Simmer for 30 minutes.
13 Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.
14 Simmer for another 30 minutes until tender.
15 Remove the sheep's head.
16 Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve
In the days of yore the sheeps' head would be taken to the smiddy (blacksmith
forge) to be singed.