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Scotch Broth – Outlander on STARZ Episode 112

Scotch Broth – Outlander on STARZ Episode 112

Outlander on Starz

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 PeasScotch 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 week…trust me. My Englishman and I are living proof.

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

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Scotch Broth

: A soup so hearty, you could call it a stew. Delicious and full of goodness, it’s great way to use up the last of the produce from the winter garden.

Yield: Serves 8, with leftovers

  • Lamb Flank, Breast or Shank – 2 lbs (see notes)
  • Split Peas – ½ Cup
  • Pot or Pearl Barley – ½ Cup
  • Leeks, white and light green only, split, washed and sliced thinly – 2 large
  • Carrots, shredded – 2 medium
  • Turnip or Rutabaga, diced – 1 Cup
  • Kale or Savoy Cabbage, finely shredded – 2 Cups
  • Salt – 2 tsp, or to taste
  • Parsley, chopped – for garnish

In a large pot, cover the lamb with 2 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Allow to boil 1 minute, and skim the scum from the surface. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the peas, barley, half the leeks and half the carrots. Simmer until the peas and barley are tender, about 1 hour.

Add the remaining leeks and carrots, as well as the turnip and 2 cups of hot water. Simmer until turnip is tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove the meat, discard any bones and gristle, then shred and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the kale or cabbage and season to taste.

Garnish with the parsley, and serve hot with a loaf of crusty bread.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to a month. Add a little more water if needed when you reheat.


  • If you prefer to use beef, or simply can’t find lamb, choose a similar tough cut. Flank, shin, shank, blade, etc.
  • Beef will result in a milder tasting soup.
  • Do not add salt at the beginning, as it will toughen the peas as they cook.
  • Most early recipes for Scotch Broth call for 2 tablespoons of salt to be added at the end. I added a tablespoon to ours when all was said and done, but start with less and add more to taste.



  1. Anna Lapping
    April 22, 2015 at 5:16 am

    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.

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 6:27 am

      I love Campbell’s Tomato soup…nothing like that with a grilled cheese!

    • Anna Lapping
      April 22, 2015 at 6:38 am

      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.

    • Linda Weeks
      April 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

      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
      April 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      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.

    • Theresa
      April 23, 2015 at 7:00 am

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

    • Jayne Harbour
      April 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm

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

  2. violet
    April 22, 2015 at 5:27 am

    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.

  3. Amy Meighan
    April 22, 2015 at 7:07 am

    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!
    We’re going to give your recipe a shot after the kale grows..late summer here.
    Thank you so much for the marvelous recipes! We are really enjoying them!
    Best regards
    Amy Meighan

  4. Anna Mary
    April 22, 2015 at 7:34 am

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

  5. Annie
    April 22, 2015 at 7:38 am

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

  6. Marthan
    April 22, 2015 at 7:38 am

    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.

  7. Kristine Phillips
    April 22, 2015 at 7:46 am

    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.

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 9:33 am

      For sure, Kristine! You could also use rice.

  8. Renée
    April 22, 2015 at 7:46 am

    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.

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 9:32 am

      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.

    • Renée
      April 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      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.

    • Cheryl
      November 26, 2015 at 7:26 am

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

    • Julie
      January 8, 2016 at 1:14 pm

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

    • Theresa
      January 9, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Yes to both.

  9. Sarah Boye
    April 22, 2015 at 8:07 am

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

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 9:30 am

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

    • Sarah Boye
      April 22, 2015 at 10:30 am

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

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Thyme and rosemary would have definitely been in their herb gardens

  10. Shannon
    April 22, 2015 at 8:56 am

    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!

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 9:29 am

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

    • Donna Mohney
      April 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      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!

  11. Sandie Russo
    April 22, 2015 at 9:29 am

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

  12. ms.yoshimi
    April 22, 2015 at 9:41 am

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

  13. Kathy
    April 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

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

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 9:58 am

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

    • Kathy
      April 23, 2015 at 7:13 am

      Thanks so much Theresa! Sounds delicious. Definitely going to give it a try 🙂

  14. Jennifer Harrell
    April 22, 2015 at 10:21 am

    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?

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Dawn just asked the same question…do you see my response?

  15. Dawn
    April 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Any suggestions for making this slow-cooker friendly?

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 11:58 am

      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!

    • Dawn
      April 28, 2015 at 3:38 am

      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!

  16. Amy
    April 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

    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!

  17. Angela
    April 22, 2015 at 11:17 am

    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

  18. Mary
    April 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    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.

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      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
      April 23, 2015 at 3:05 am

      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 🙂

  19. Diana Ashkenasy
    April 22, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    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.

    • Theresa
      April 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      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.

  20. kris
    April 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    A great Recipe that sounds delicious. What could i substitute for leek or onions as i can’t eat them?

  21. Sarah Kennedy
    April 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I this soup sounds wonderful! I love any soup that contains barley! One ingredient I never add to anything are peas! My least favorite vegetable!

  22. Jan Anderson
    April 23, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Can’t wait to make this fabulous duo! The lassies are going to love it! I’ve been trying hard to think why I can make your recipes (and they actually taste yummy) when my attempts at many others have failed (said last year, I’m really a horrible cook) and I think I might have the answer….or at least a few answers….and likely why I’m certain that your new cook book will sell well:

    1) OK, it’s Outlander for goodness sake!
    2) The ingredients are simple and usually fresh and fairly easy to come by.
    3) You actually give really good directions…easy to follow even for people like me who are kitchen challenged.
    4) Technique…I was thinking that because most of these are based on older cooking techniques, it seems like I don’t need to know all the modern fancy shmancy stuff…I can get by with only the most basic cooking skills.
    5) You give great tips….like the tip about the salt and the peas. I would never have known that the salt will change the consistency of the peas!
    6) And last but certainly not least….the recipes are DELICIOUS!!!! Everything I’ve made, my friends (and hubby) have loved!

    Great work Teresa! Keep it up! x

    • Theresa
      April 23, 2015 at 6:59 am

      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. Denise
    April 26, 2015 at 1:34 am

    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
      April 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      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. But…….now 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!

  24. Diane
    April 26, 2015 at 8:58 am

    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 🙂

    • Theresa
      April 26, 2015 at 7:32 pm


  25. Lauren
    April 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

    This recipe was awesome!!! The only thing I did differently was add lots of garlic to my lamb. I was nervous about cooking lamb for the first time. But it tasted amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Theresa
      April 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Awesome! That’s what I like to hear. And it just keeps getting better with everyday in the fridge.

  26. Renée
    April 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    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!

  27. Anne-Marie
    April 27, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    This is exactly the sort of food I always imagined would be cooking over a big fireplace at Lallybroch on a chilly afternoon. Fortunately we are coming up to winter here in New Zealand and I can now imagine me cooking this over our fireplace on a chilly afternoon! Thanks for the recipe – can’t wait to try it.

  28. Su
    May 1, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Oh gosh; another great recipe from my childhood! Since it’s soup season here (Australia) now, i’ll be making Scotch Broth pretty soon!

    My mother, born in Carlisle near the Scottish border, made this every winter of my childhood and now I serve it to my family.

    As much as I like your recipe, i’m kind of bound to use my family recipe! [sorry] The flavours of my mum’s Scotch Broth remind me of things like wearing kilts in Winter with thick woolly tights and knitted jumpers; shortbread with tea.

    Love your blog!

  29. Natalie
    May 3, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I’m making this right now! My kids are very excited for something different. Smells great…
    I used lamb shanks and a bit of lamb stewing meat, plus increased the vegetable and liquid amounts a bit. Odd to have no garlic, but I’m up for new!
    Thanks so much for this blog your recipes!

  30. ms.yoshimi
    May 7, 2015 at 10:25 am

    This was a winner! I am making Ellen’s bracelets this weekend, thanks so much!

  31. Lindsay
    September 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Love your site! New Outlander fan here from Toronto. Been perusing your site for some time and decided to make this and the honey buttermilk bread. Both recipes are great! Very nice flavour.

    One note that you may want to add for some folks is that the split peas may be best if soaked first. I did NOT soak my peas ahead of time and even after 1.5 hrs of cooking my peas remained hard – needless to say, not the texture you want in your soup. Next time, i will soak them before cooking so they end up as soft as the barley.

    Thanks for your site, looking forward to trying many more recipes 🙂

    • Theresa
      September 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Lindsay, welcome! Split peas don’t need to be pre-soaked. I’m just wondering if yours were maybe a bit old? Depending on their age, some old, dried peas and beans will never soften. If you have a look at other split pea soup recipes, you’ll find they’re not generally pre-soaked.

    • Lindsay
      September 5, 2015 at 5:43 am

      Thanks for the feedback Theresa! Perhaps they were, although they were from a fresh package purchased at the grocery store – no telling how long they have sat on the shelf though.

  32. Rebecca Orozco
    December 9, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Hello Theresa, this soup looks amazing and I would love to give it a try. I am a vegetarian however, and I expect its not as simple as “just leave out the meat” as a lot of the flavor must come from the lamb. Can you give me any quick suggestions to compensate for removing the meat?

  33. Pamela Jones
    January 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I have to tell you, I haven’t purchased an actual “book” other than school texts for my son in years. I have relied on my Nook/Kindle/e readers, etc. This cookbook will be the exception. Planning on using this recipe when it cools down again here in Florida ( when temps dip below 60).

  34. Joanne McNair
    January 23, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I have made this recipe several times now and really love it. I use beef because we don’t like lamb (unless it’s cooked in something really strongly seasoned — like a curry — to kill the lamb taste and smell), so use beef. I found the first time I tried the recipe that the broth was a bit bland, so now when I make it, I add one beef bouillon cube, as well as some dried oregano and a sprinkling of dried thyme. I’ve even been considering adding a dash of nutmeg, but haven’t gone that route yet.

  35. Jan Anderson
    April 28, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    This is great. I see some of my faves here. I think the Scotch Broth would go over well! Now if you combined it w/ the Atholl Brose…’d be in for a heck of a good time! 🙂

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