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Traditional Scots Recipes - Soups

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Traditional Scots Recipes – Soups

Scotch Broth (from Rampant Scotland)

Mutton was a frequent ingredient in Scottish meals and when Scotch Broth soup was being made, the mutton would often be used as the main course, rather than being chopped up and returned to the pot. The quantities noted below will make enough soup for six people. You can use a boiling fowl (stewing fowl) instead of mutton, in which case it is called "Hen Broth".

1lb mutton

3 pints of water
1oz pearl barley and 2oz dried peas, soaked overnight
1 large carrot (sliced)
1 large onion (sliced)
1 small leek (sliced)
1 small diced turnip
4oz shredded cabbage
1 level tablespoon of chopped parsley

Trim any excess fat from the mutton and put in a large pan with the water, pearl barley, peas and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour.
Add the carrot, onion, leek and turnip, return to the boil and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked. Add the cabbage and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the mutton from the pot and trim off the meat (into small pieces if they are to be served with the soup) and return it to the pot, discarding the bone. Skim off any fat, season to taste and sprinkle parsley on the piping hot bowls of soup before serving.

Partan Bree

Partan is the Scots word for a crab and bree is a liquid in which something edible has been boiled and left to soak. So partan bree is crab soup!

1 large cooked crab
2 oz (50g or ¼ cup) rice
1 pint (600ml or 2½ cups) milk
1 pint (600ml or 2½ cups) liquor from boiling the crab
¼ pint (125ml or ¾ cup) single cream
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped chives

Remove all the meat from the crab, keeping the claw meat separate. Cook the rice in a pan with the milk and water until tender. Liquidise this with the brown body meat from the crab. Add the white meat and cream and reheat. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the partan bree is too thick, you can add some more milk if required. Serve garnished with fresh, green, finely chopped chives.

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

This traditional soup, with prunes included in the ingredients, is mentioned as early as the 16th century. It is often served at Burns’ Suppers or St Andrew's Night Dinner (30 November) as well as an every-day soup in winter. Some people omit the prunes though!

1 boiling fowl, about 4lb, including legs and wings

1lb leeks (about 12) cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 pints stock or water
1oz long grained rice
4oz cooked, stoned prunes
One teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Garni of bay leaf, parsley, thyme
Some recipes also have 3 chopped rashers of streaky bacon

Put the fowl and bacon in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and remove any scum. Add three-quarters of the leeks, (green as well as white sections), herbs (tied together in a bundle), salt and pepper and return to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-3 hours, adding more water if necessary.

Remove the bird. Some thrifty chefs use the bird as another course, others cut the meat into small pieces and add them back to the soup (certainly it should have some pieces of chicken in it when served). Add the rice and drained prunes and the remaining leeks and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check for flavour and serve with a little chopped parsley.

Serves 6/8 people.

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