Our recipe of the week is the ultra-warming Hotch Potch Soup from The Scottish Soup Bible by Sue Lawrence, guaranteed to fill you up on these chilly February days.
Hotch Potch Soup from the Scottish Soup Bible by Sue Lawrence
Rather like Scotch Broth, this is somewhere between a soup and a stew. Chunky and hearty, it is a thick soup that requires only the addition of some fresh bread as accompaniment to make a main course.
The etymology of the word is interesting. Originally from the French, ‘hochepot’, hotchpotch now means a dish of mixed ingredients such as a stew with vegetables. My French dictionary is more specific and indicates it is a mutton, beef or fowl ragout with turnips and chestnuts.
And so my recipe is a modernised version of the old recipes, using lamb (neck and/or shoulder) instead of mutton and as many vegetables as can be crammed in. I have left out the chestnuts, although they were extremely popular in Scotland in the past.
The secret of a good hotchpotch is in the slowcooking, in order to have tender pieces of meat and a richly flavoured broth. If you dislike a fatty taste to your broth, cook the first stage – for 2 hours – then chill. Scrape off surface fat and reheat to boiling before adding the remaining vegetables.
900g neck and/or shoulder of lamb (traditionally the bone is left in) chopped into very large pieces
6 carrots, peeled and left whole
600g baby turnips, peeled and left whole
1 large onion, peeled and cut into sixths or eighths
3–4 sprigs of thyme
4 large (or 8 medium) spring onions
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
3 heaped tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
Place the meat in the base of a large heavy casserole. Top with 2 whole carrots, the whole turnips, onion and the
thyme. Cover with 1.5 litres cold water, add salt and pepper and bring slowly to the boil. Skim, before covering and cooking over a very low heat for about 2 hours. (Skim again if necessary.) Then bring the mixture up to the boil, add the remaining whole carrots, the whole spring onions and the cauliflower florets. Cook over a medium heat, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are just cooked. Check the seasoning and stir in the parsley. Serve in deep plates or bowls, with plenty of good bread and butter on the side.
The Scottish Soup Bible£4.99