Traditional Scottish Chicken Broth Soup Recipe

Updated on October 5, 2017

This is a traditional Scottish soup and one of my all-time favourite things to eat. It is my idea of a comfort food. It's the ideal thing when you're feeling cold and tired, and it's freezing outside or you've just started getting a cold. For me, it brings back childhood memories of coming home from school in the pouring rain, drenched to the skin. I'd open our front door, and that's when that warming smell hit me—chicken broth—YES! My husband loves this with hot buttered toast, but I just like a couple of slices of thick white bread, preferably homemade to chase away the autumn/winter blues.

It's extremely easy to make, and although it takes a couple of hours to cook, it just putters away on the back of the stove during the day without needing any attention. And the house will fill with the wonderful smell of chicken poaching amidst the lovely golden carrots, turning the soup a wonderful golden colour. The natural goodness of the ingredients speaks for itself as to how good it is for you, and of course, it's a thousand times better than the soup that comes in cans.

Give this a try, you'll be very glad you did, and so will your family - they'll be able to taste the love that you've put into it.


  • 4 litres of water
  • 1 small free-range chicken
  • 4 large organic carrots
  • 2 cups of beans and pulses
  • 2 medium organic onions or 1 huge onion or 1 large leek
  • half cup of pearl barley or half cup of white basmati rice
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 bouquet garni


Note: You can buy packets of soup mix beans/pulses in the supermarket, or you can mix your favourites together.

The night before you want to cook the broth, place 2 cups of mixed beans and pulses into a bowl with the ½ cup of pearl barley, rinse a few times in cold water and then add enough water to double the height of the mixture.

Make sure your bowl is large enough, the beans and pulses will swell and almost double in size soaking up the water. In the morning drain and rinse the mixture and again add water and leave to soak until you are going to be making the broth.


  1. Put 4 litres of cold water in a large pot and put over a medium heat.
  1. Rinse your chicken, I cut mine in half but you don't have to and place into the pot.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  3. Slice the onions or leek and place in the pot.
  4. Chop the carrots and place in the pot.
  5. Add a bouquet garni to the pot.
  6. Slowly bring this to a rolling boil and then turn down to simmer for an hour.
  7. Add the seasoning and dried parsley and cook for a further hour.
  8. Now comes a messy bit: Take the chicken out of the broth and place it in a large dish, separate the chicken meat and place meat back in the broth.
  9. Add the pulses and cook for at least an hour.
  10. Try eating a couple of the beans to see if they are tender enough - cook until the beans are soft and ready to eat.
  11. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference.

This soup often tastes even better the next day, although you may have to add a touch more water overnight as the beans will continue to expand, but it won't taste watered down as the flavour will increase overnight.

Note: If you fancy a lighter version of this or you have a sensitive stomach or ulcer and have trouble digesting the pulses then why not try adding some basmati/long grain rice instead, they are a delicious addition to the broth mixture.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Alan 5 months ago

        Gonna give this a go tomorrow (bean soaking today), getting to that time of year when we need a hearty soup to warm the cockles

      • Eileen Goodall profile image

        Eileen Goodall 5 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

        LOL thank you for pointing that out I will amend the recipe, such a coincidence I have a pot of Chicken Broth simmering on the stove as I'm typing this and the smell in the house is so comforting, especially on an icy day like today :D

      • profile image

        B L Obi 5 years ago

        Could have added the pulses for cooking-------- of course I did

      • BusinessTime profile image

        Sarah Kolb-Williams 6 years ago from Twin Cities

        Yum!! I cook vegetarian quite a bit, but I shy away from cooking meats (an undercooked vegetable never killed anyone...). This seems simple enough even for someone unfamiliar with chicken, and it's just what I'm in the mood for with the weather lately. Saving this for later!