This is brilliant and a quintessentially Scottish dish. Feel free to use different cuts of meat. I like it with leftover roast lamb, but it’s so good it’s almost worth roasting some especially for it. As in Italy, the recipes will vary depending on which area of the country you’re in, but, I can tell you, there’s nothing better than a hearty bowl of Scotch broth - so tuck in...
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas mark 3.
If using the shoulder of lamb, rub it all over with salt and pepper, place on a baking tray and cover with tin foil. Cook in the oven for about 3 hours, until the meat is lovely and tender, and falls off the bone. Pull all the meat off, reserving the bone, and put to one side.
Put the leek, celery, onions and carrots into a large saucepan, add a splash of olive oil and sweat them on a low heat for about 20 minutes, until they are softened and starting to sweeten. Add the lamb stock and, if you have it, the lamb bone, too. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the swede, potato and pearl barley, then simmer slowly for a further 50 minutes. You don’t want the heat too high - it should just be ticking along nicely.
Take the pot off the hob and whisk the broth quite hard to break down some of the potato and bind the soup together. Stir in the pieces of roast lamb and season well with salt and white pepper, tasting as you go to make sure you’ve got the seasoning right.
Serve sprinkled with parsley and celery leaves, and a good hunk of crusty bread on the side. If you want to be really authentic, why not add a little dram of whisky to each bowl?