Thursday, May 8, 2014

Scotch Broth - A delicious soup from Scotland

I am a big fan of simple food such as Soup and Bread. There is something deeply comforting about dipping a piece of chewy bread into a shimmering hot liquid composed of veggies and possibly meat, and popping it into the mouth. The single-minded, repeated motions of scooping up the chunky liquid, on a fat spoon and balancing it on its way to the mouth has a way to calm the mind and settle the growls of a hungry stomach.
Having made clear my point, that I love soups, let me move on to today's edible experiment at Mamma's Melting Pot.

I have been on the lookout for using up my barley pearls, and many experienced foodies suggested soup. I particularly loved the notion of getting barley grains in soup mainly because of the texture. I also have fond memories of my dear friend T, bringing me hot soup when I had one of my bad, evil Sinus infections. Her soup was a God -send! The soup itself was light with a few chicken pieces and cooked barley at the bottom, and I could see perfectly cooked veggies in the clear broth, which emanated the spicy savory aroma of freshly chopped parsley. I wasn't in a position to ask her what it was called or how it was made, due to the pressure in my forehead and the facial pain. All I knew was I was hungry and I gobbled it all up, grateful for angels like her in my life. But the soup never left my mind.

After almost a year, as the foodies discussed possibilities of barley in soup all I could think of was my buddy's soup. As I described the soup, a couple of them identified it as Scotch Broth- the basic soup made by the Scots. Traditionally, the soup is made of 4 main ingredients: Beef or Lamb, Swedes/Neep aka Rutabagas, Barley and Parsley. Every thing else can be substituted or played with. And so it was decided!
I made it yesterday night and served it with Fresh Bread buttered and toasted with Homemade garlic Butter.
I didn't have time to go get some soup bones or lamb from Butcher so I used up a pound of beef stew meat I had in the freezer. I am glad I used that because, the meat was extra lean and there was hardly any fat to skim off, in the soup. The soup was nutritious, very hearty and light. It filled up everyone without weighing them down. And making it was very simple too. This recipe is here to stay!
Here is how I made it:

1 lb of lean Stew Meat (Mutton, Lamb or Beef)- trimmed into bite sized cubes.
(Alternately, you can also use Meat or Chicken Stock. Instead of adding meat and water, just add meat stock)
1 cup diced Rutabaga (also can be substituted with turnips)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
2 cups diced leeks
1 cup diced mushrooms
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup pearl barley, soaked for a couple hours.
Salt and Pepper
Cold water- 12 cups
1 tbsp butter
1 cup minced fresh parsley (garnish)

In a large Soup pan, melt the butter and lightly saute the garlic. When garlic is sweaty, add the onions and keep sauteing for another couple of minutes until soft. Add the meat, some coarsely crushed pepper and a tsp of salt. Stir once and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the barley. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on simmer for another 30 minutes.
Skim off and discard any fat that rises to the surface.
Add the chopped veggies (save the parsley) to the soup for the last leg of cooking. Simmer for about another 30 minutes or until veggies are cooked. Take care they are cooked to the point they are tender but not crumbling.

Switch off the heat, add the chopped parsley and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with Toasted bread sticks or Garlic bread.

To make my special Double Garlic Butter, Mince 5 cloves of garlic very finely and add to 2 sticks of salted butter,softened to room temperature. Stir in 1 tsp of garlic powder. Mix well using a hand mixer or a food processor or just a fork. Refrigerate in a closed container for an hour, before using. You can also roll it into tiny balls, and freeze for later use.

Use this butter to butter up the toast generously, then bake them/toast them in the oven until desired "toastiness" is achieved, and serve with the soup.

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