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A Humble Food for Winter: Scotch Broth from Ladled

A Humble Food for Winter: Scotch Broth from Ladled

Posted: · Updated: by Jenny McGruther · This site earns income from ads, affiliate links, and sponsorships.

Scotch Broth, a humble potage of lamb, split peas, barley, and vegetables, fills my family’s bellies in wintertime when the lingering cold and snow seem to draw out our strength and internal warmth.  Scotch Broth has long been a favorite of mine – thick with split peas and barley, flecked with long-simmered bits of tender lamb meat and ladled into waiting bowls.

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Scotch Broth

This classic Scotch Broth, a satisfying and filling broth-based soup featuring kale, split peas, lamb and barley, comes.

Prep Time12 hrs 5 mins

Cook Time1 hr 30 mins

Total Time13 hrs 35 mins

Servings: 10 to 12 servings

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  • 1 cup hulled barley
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup split peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large lamb shank
  • 1 yellow onions (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 2 celery ribs (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (sliced thin)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground real salt
  • ground black pepper


  • Place the barley in a small bowl with about 1 cup warm water. Stir in cider vinegar. In a separate bowl, pour the split peas into a bowl and cover with warm water. Leave both bowls in a warm room for 12 to 24 hours. After the time has passed, drain the barley and the split peas, and rinse them well.

  • In a large pot, heat the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add the lamb shanks to the pot and brown them on both sides, turning as needed. Room the lamb and set aside.

  • Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning.

  • Return the lamb to the pot and add the thyme, bay, and 12 cups water. Pour in the soaked split peas and barley. Bring the soup to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the lamb shanks are very tender and the meat is easy to pull off the bone. Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and let them cool.

  • While the lamb cools, stem the kale and chop it into bite-sized pieces Add the kale to the pot and simmer for 7 minutes or until the kale is soft.

  • Shred the lamb, and return it to the pot. Salt well, starting with 2 teaspoons, and add freshly ground pepper if desired. Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.

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