Thursday, January 4, 2018

Scotch Broth

Here in the northeastern USA, we are currently experiencing the sort of extreme winter weather that inspires hysteria in the news media, with bizarre coinages like "bomb cyclone," "thundersnow," and "wintercane." In times like these our best defense is always soup; I'd been thinking about veganizing my mother's Scotch Broth for awhile, so I hit the kitchen and today's recipe is the happy result. Since the traditional dead sheep was off the table - what kind of asshole eats a lamb? - I used mushrooms for that "meaty" je ne sais quoi. Swede/turnip is also conspicuously absent (we are not fans so I didn't have any), but if you've a mind to just chop up a cup or so and add it with the other root vegetables. This is a very hearty, filling soup that's perfect for a cold night snuggled up in your pjs while the bombogenesis rages outside.

Scotch Broth
~ ⅔ cup barley
~ ½ cup each: green split peas, yellow split peas
~ 1 lb. mushrooms, diced
~ 1 tsp. each: thyme, marjoram
~ 1 tbsp. each: canola oil, vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
~ 1 yellow onion, diced
~ 1 large leek, chopped
~ 2 parsnips, diced
~ 2 carrots, diced
~ 2 stalks celery, diced
~ Freshly ground black pepper
~ ½ tsp. white pepper
~ 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 2 tsp. Marmite
~ 2 bay leaves

~ Rinse the barley, green peas, and yellow peas in a colander, then cover with water and soak for at least a few hours (the longer the better; I did this first thing in the morning). 
~ Get a non-stick skillet screaming hot and cook the mushrooms over high heat until brown and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
~ In a large, deep pot, heat the margarine and oil and saute the onion for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until softened but not browned.
~ Add the leek, parsnips, carrots, celery, and dried seasonings; continue cooking for ten minutes.
~ Drain the barley and the green and yellow split peas and add them to the pot. Stir to combine and add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, and bay leaves.
~ Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally, until the peas are soft. (You can add a bit more water if it looks too thick, but you're going for a hearty texture here.)
~ Stir in the cooked mushrooms, taste for seasoning, fish out the bay leaves, and serve hot with crusty bread.