Scotch Broth inspired by Outlander

Scotch Broth - Outlander on STARZ Episode 112

Welcome home, Jamie and Claire! Together forever, right?

Of course, Jenny has a few things to say to her long lost brother before they sit down for a sup and a bite to eat...good thing she put that pot of broth on to cook before J&C appeared in the dooryard.


Scotch Broth Split Peas

Scotch Broth appeared under that name in cookbooks for the first time in the latter part of the 18th Century, though variations of this thick, hearty, stew-like soup had been cooking in cast iron kettles across the Highlands for hundreds of years before that.

My meaty version is definitely from a wealthier kitchen, like Lallybroch, rather than made by one of the Fraser's crofters, who would have felt fortunate to have a bone to put in the pot, never mind meat.

Scotch Broth lamb

A traditional Scotch Broth starts with lamb. Lamb can be difficult to find, and once you do, it's often expensive. I came across these shoulder chops when I was out shopping in the BIG city one day. They were crammed in the back of a frozen food case, looking freezer burned and a bit beyond their time.

Perfect for soup! So, I went and knocked on the glass above he the meat case to catch the butcher's attention. When I showed him my chops, he slapped a 50% off sticker on there and I left a happy, frugal chef. He knew he was lucky to get half of the original $12 price, so he was a happy butcher.

If you can't find lamb, then use beef. To be honest, more farmers had cattle in the Highlands than sheep before Culloden, so you certainly won't lose any authenticity either.

Scotch Broth Veggies

Next up is the veggies, and a Scotch Broth is chock full of them! This time of year was the leanest in the Highlands, as the winter kale crop failed before the farmers' early spring plantings of kale and spinach were ready for harvest.

My kale crop from last year is no different. I've got just 3 plants left, and they've all bolted to seed in the last week. That means my kale is a little tough, but that's balanced by the appearance of the flowering heads, which are gorgeous lightly sauteed in olive oil, and also make a beautiful garnish.

Scotch Broth Bowl

Soup doesn't get much heartier than this! A pot of this will feed a couple for a me. My Englishman and I are living proof.

A loaf of Honey-Buttermilk Oat Bread from Madame Jeanne's tastes great alongside.

Show/Hide Comments


22 Apr 2015 - 2:34pm

Anna Mary

Thanks so much for this recipe! I remember the Campbell's version from childhood. I'll be trying this recipe soon!

22 Apr 2015 - 2:38pm


If you wanted to go vegetarian? Would you just leave out meat?

22 Apr 2015 - 2:38pm


Ha... I was wondering what flower garnished your soup. Kale flowers... might be the trendiest new vegetables. I always put barley in my Scotch broth not peas... Thanks for the simple recipe.

22 Apr 2015 - 2:46pm

Kristine Phillips

Its gotten cold here again, and this looks like a great warm-up as well as hearty soup. One question, could I substitute the barley for quinoa (or other suggestion), my daughter has celiacs and can't have the barley.

22 Apr 2015 - 2:46pm


I am creating a menu for a Burns Night Supper next January and was thinking about using the lamb sausage recipe you posted earlier for the main entre. Would the Scotch Broth be too heavy to serve as the first course of this meal? I thought I might cut back on the quantities of meat and veggies a bit so that there is ample broth. I would go for the beef for the soup since the sausage is lamb. Also will likely make traditional Scots potatoes and turnips for the sides. Haven't decided yet about dessert. The menu will be for 12 servings.


Scotch Broth is the perfect start! Maybe halve the peas and barley so it's not quite so thick...and you could just use bones and skip the meat. The soup will still have all its flavour, just not the meat.


That sounds great Theresa; I didn't think about just using the beef bones! I'll have to make the soup first as your recipe calls for since it sounds SO good and then "tame" it down for the Burns supper! Thanks so much.


Add BASHED Neeps and Tatties to your Robbie Burns night. My Scotch Granny would make these for us.


Bashed neeps and tatties sounds like something you'd have after a rugby game. What is it? Are Neeps turnips and Tatties potatoes?

22 Apr 2015 - 3:07pm

Sarah Boye

Any advice for making this vegetarian? I'm worried it will be horribly bland without the meat.


I would add in some herbs while it cooks...and maybe start with a flavourful veggie broth? This is fast, easy and full of good taste.

Sarah Boye

Thanks! What are the most authentic Scottish herbs for a scotch-broth?


Thyme and rosemary would have definitely been in their herb gardens

22 Apr 2015 - 3:27pm

Linda Weeks

I thinkd Campbells Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese is universal. I remember my mother making for us when I was little (in the 60's), and I made for my littles ones too. :-)

Kathleen Laurenzo

I grew up eating grilled cheese and tomato soup, and when my daughter was little she called it "cook cheese and orange soup". Still one of our staple meals today. Two requirements: it must be Campbell's (no store brand will do) and it must be made with a can of milk, not water. If you haven't tried that, do it. You'll never go back.

22 Apr 2015 - 3:56pm


Is there something I can substitute for the split peas? I have horrid memories of them from childhood & can't imagine putting them in my soup!


I guess you could use lentils? Or yellow split peas instead of green?

Donna Mohney

Shannon, I was wondering the same things- I can eat fresh from the garden peas but not dried or canned ones! I'm thinking I'm going to go with Lentils!

23 Apr 2015 - 1:59pm


Wow, Jan! Thank you! I may just pass this along to a certain cookbook editor...just kidding. The cookbook is coming along. I hope I can share some details soon.

23 Apr 2015 - 2:00pm


I never understood those directions to add water...I mean, who would do that?!

23 Apr 2015 - 2:13pm


Thanks so much Theresa! Sounds delicious. Definitely going to give it a try :-)

26 Apr 2015 - 8:34am


I made this tonight for our "Lallybroch" dinner. I did wonder what it would taste like without any seasoning apart from salt and was completely happy with the end result. My partner devoured his bowlful and said it was delicious, he's the cook in this house so that's high praise for me! Agree with Jan above, it's an education reading your recipes, eg the peas and salt. I'm looking forward to seeing how your cookbook turns out and getting my mitts on my own copy.

Jan Anderson

My hubby is the real 'cook' in our house too Denise. I may do the majority of the cooking, but dang....I just don't have the talent for it really, even though I try. My hubby used to cook professionally, so the disparity between our end results is normally quite large. following Theresa's recipes since I found her site last year......I can say that 'maybe' I'm closing that gap a bit! :-) My girlfriends used to make fun of me and my kitchen skills, but now they are saying "YUM"!!!! Thanks Theresa! The lassies are happy!

26 Apr 2015 - 3:58pm


Another smash hit! Will definitely make that again. Loved the flavor of the lamb in the soup and just the hearty goodness of it. Ate it with crusty bread and ale, followed by Colum's shortbread. Again, YUM :)

27 Apr 2015 - 8:26pm


We tried a crockpot version on Sunday and substituted beef for the lamb and it was delish! I didn't pre-soak the peas (as I usually do) because it cooked for around 7 hours and they still ended a bit "crunchy" so next time I'll be sure to do the pre-soaking. I didn't salt until the end and used the 2 tsps. as suggested, but had to add a bit more for our taste. I found a honey/oat store-bought bread (Aunt Millie's) and it was a very decent sub for the home-made version. We've had 2 nights, so far, of the soup and will finish it off tonight! YUM!

22 Apr 2015 - 12:16pm

Anna Lapping

It's great to find a true recipe for this. When I was younger, my mother used to buy the canned Campbell's Scotch Broth. I always loved it, but really couldn't find a recipe for it. Now I never have canned soups, except a can or two of cream of tomato, or chicken noodle for my grandson. I may not make this until autumn, but I will be making it. Thanks.


I love Campbell's Tomato soup...nothing like that with a grilled cheese!

Anna Lapping

I love it as well, but yesterday I made a tomato bisque in my new Vita-Mix and it took all of 6 minutes! I thought I couldn't justify the cost of the Vita-Mix if all I could do with it is make almond butter. The tomato bisque tasted very much like Campbell's except it has small chunks of tomato.

Jayne Harbour

Can u still find Campbells Scotch brothe here in the States? Still enjoying your bannock from 3 wks ago, they freeze pretty well

22 Apr 2015 - 12:27pm


Thanks. I thought broth was just clear broth, but it's really a hearty soup! Thanks for educating me! Im going to try this broth recipe.

22 Apr 2015 - 2:07pm

Amy Meighan

I'm fortunate to live in beef and sheep country in the furthest northwest corner of Utah...just put a quarter beef in the freezer and have two spring lambs coming this fall! And the lamb is the very best I have ever had, actually so us the beef. Range feed with alfalfa hay supplements...was as...and not expensive up here! I've paid big bucks for so so lamb chops and these were by far the best for a lot less!rnWe're going to give your recipe a shot after the kale grows..late summer here. rnThank you so much for the marvelous recipes! We are really enjoying them!rnBest regardsrnAmy Meighan

22 Apr 2015 - 4:29pm

Sandie Russo

We're big soup and stew fans at our house, so I definitely need to try this one. Thanks, Theresa!!

22 Apr 2015 - 4:41pm


Once again, a recipe I can't wait to make! I love lamb and never thought of using it in soup/broth. Thank you!

22 Apr 2015 - 4:51pm


I am allergic to Gluten. What would you recommend exchanging for the barley for a great end result?


Rice would be my first suggestion, Kathy...but add it at a bit later. When you add the turnip is a good time.

22 Apr 2015 - 5:21pm

Jennifer Harrell

Doy ou think this would adapt well to going into the crock pot? If so, would you just chuck it all in together from the start, or space it out any?

22 Apr 2015 - 5:24pm


Any suggestions for making this slow-cooker friendly?


I would start it all at once, except for the kale and parsley. 6-8 hours on low, then add the kale in the last 15 minutes. Let me know how it turns out!


I made this in my slow cooker yesterday. WOW!! I threw everything in (used beef flank steak in place of lamb) and set it to cook 7 hours on Low. Fantastic! I think the only thing I would do different next time is to cut the beef flank into smaller chunks. It was difficult to shred at the bottom of the slow cooker!

22 Apr 2015 - 5:24pm


I always pictured this as a meat broth, no chunks of food. Thank you for clearing that up, know I can imagine Jamie and Claire eating a bit better than I had!

22 Apr 2015 - 6:17pm


Thanks for the recipe. My mom always put potatoes in it. You use to be able to buy premade mix bags of grains for the soup at some of the locations in Kearny, NJ since there was a big Scottish population there. The Argyle Restaurant in Kearny has some imported goods and has a yearly Burns night supper and a Tartan Day Dinner. We go every years. I wish they would put Scotch broth on their menu. I miss it and the Campbells Scotch Broth in a can. I think Baxters use to make a Scotch broth or a soup similar if you don't want to make a big batch and save time. Enjoy

22 Apr 2015 - 7:28pm


would really like a recipe for Claire's cock-a-leekie soup (with milk and chicken....). Either a version that would be similar to what she was making on the stove when baby Brianna made a mess of her blouse and Frank brought guests home for dinner (Voyager?); or the version made at Lallybroch with her presiding, where all the crofters pitched in potatoes and vegetables into the giant pot and the whole estate had dinner together.


That's one of the recipes I label "cookbook only," Mary. If I gave them all away, no one would need to buy the cookbook! We're just working on the cookbook deal now. Let you know more when I can.

Jan Anderson

Hi Theresa, I'm super pleased to see you're moving forward with the book deal! I knew you would...I had faith! I know it'll be great and as I said before...I'll be first in line to order a copy! Do you have an artist lined up already? I'd love to illustrate for you :-)

22 Apr 2015 - 8:05pm

Diana Ashkenasy

I must stay gluten free (not on fad diet, who in their right minds would give up bread?) so what may I substitute for barley? and what of the Bannocks? I'd be one sick lady if I lived in period. Cheers, Diana


I've been suggesting rice for the non-barley eaters, Diana...add it when you add the turnip so it doesn't get too overcooked.

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