Friday, January 23, 2009

Hearty Ulster-Scots Broth

(Braised Beef with Winter Vegetables)

On the eve of the birthday of the famous Scottish Poet Robert Burns who was born 250 years ago. It makes me reflect on my history, cultural heritage and then of course to my greatest passion, namely food....and with the chilly temps we've been having in Georgia lately, this is a great time to curl up by the fire with some hearty Scots broth. So, put another log on the fire and read on....

Few things remind me more of my mother’s comfort food than Ulster-Scots Broth. It was part of our weekly diet, back then made with a lamb shank instead of stewing beef, and was always a hit. In cold dark nights in Ulster, the glow of a turf fire and a bowl of Scots broth warmed the heart and cheered the soul. Growing up in a farm it was also a staple for feeding hungry farm workers who were invited for lunch, especially during those busy times when my father contracted silage out. The mighty combine harvester would cut the grass at record speed and the men, tired from being out in the cold fields all day, said they always looked forward to working on our farm because of my mothers famous broth.

Try serving it with some hearty Irish Wheaten Bread or Warm Southern Biscuits.

1 ½ Lbs stewing beef (cut in ¾” cubes)
kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1½ Tbsp butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 large leek (cleaned and chopped)
1 ½ pints (6 cups) vegetable stock
½ small yellow turnip (2 cups) (peeled and cubed)
4 medium potatoes (2 cups) (peeled and diced)
5 medium size carrots (1 ½ cups) (peeled and diced)
6 Tbsp pearl parley
3 Tbsp parsley (chopped)


Pre-soak barley in plenty of cold water for 1 hour.

Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan and sear the meat in small batches. Transfer meat to dutch style oven or a large saucepan. Add butter to sauté pan and cook the onions and leeks for 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and add to meat.

Pour vegetable stock over meat, onions and leeks. Bring to a boil and then turn temperature down to low and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Add the pearl barley and cook for 15 minutes.
Add potatoes, yellow turnip and carrots. Cover and simmer broth for a further 25 minutes until all the vegetables are tender when pieced with a fork.
Skim off any fat from surface of broth.
Season to taste.

Serve in a warmed soup bowl and garnish with chopped parsley.

Stay warm, and enjoy!



  1. Sounds good! I have been thinking about beef stew lately. This might end up on our table soon. Thanks Judith!

  2. Hi Judith luv the scots broth, beats the stew ! lots of luv Claire xo so proud of my sis!


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