Deliciously modern Scotch Broth

Rachel Walker 

This modern Scotch Broth is cheap, nutritious and hugely comforting—the perfect winter dish. 

This Scotch Broth uses chicken rather than the traditional lamb or mutton, making it a cross between Highland fuel and Jewish penicillin.

Aim for substance rather than beauty by cooking it nice and slowly to make something heartening for a cosy weekend night in. Serves 4.



  • 20g butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 250g carrots, diced
  • 250g swede, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 chicken legs or thighs
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 100g kale
  • 4tbsps fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • To serve: four bread rolls 


  1. Heat the butter in the bottom of a casserole pan and then add the onions, celery, leeks, carrots, swede and bay leaves. Cook on a low heat for ten minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Lay the chicken legs or thighs on top of the vegetables and cover with the chicken stock. Put on the lid and cook at a gentle simmer for ten minutes.
  3. Add the pearl barley to the pan and bring back to a rolling simmer for 50 minutes.
  4. Lift the chicken out of the pan and put it in a dish. Discard the skin and then use two forks to carefully shred the meat from the bone. Return the chicken meat to the pan, add the kale and simmer uncovered for two minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Divide the broth between four heated dishes, making sure that you dig deep with the ladle to ensure that the pearl barley is divided equally. Top each portion with a tablespoon of fresh, flatleaf parsley and serve with a bread roll.