Gretna Green Beef and Vegetable Broth with White Beans

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 3h 55m

Serves 4

This recipe is named after the town that lies on the border of Scotland and England that was unique (and infamous) for its "quickie" weddings. So why the name of this recipe, you ask? Because this soup takes a nod to the ever-popular Scotch broth, which traditionally is made with lamb. Think of this soup as a wedding between that classic and a hearty bean soup.


  • For White Beans:
  • 12 ounces dried white (navy) beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 quarts water
  • For Broth:
  • 1 1/2 pounds top round, choice grade, or the flat lean part of a boneless beef brisket, choice grade
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 turnips, peeled
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Salt, to taste
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley


TO PREPARE BEANS: Rinse the beans and place in a large saucepan with the water; add more if necessary to keep the beans covered by at least 2 inches. Over medium heat, bring the beans to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until just tender. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside.

TO PREPARE BROTH: While the beans are cooking, prepare the broth. Put the beef, 1 of the onions, 2 of the carrots, 2 stalks of celery and 2 cloves of garlic in a large saucepan. Slice 1 of the turnips and add to the pan. Add the water, stock, salt (to taste) and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to low. Cover the pan and simmer for 3 hours. Let cool, skim off any fat, and strain into a clean saucepan; reserve the meat and discard the vegetables. To the saucepan add the remaining onion, carrot, celery stalk, 2 cloves of garlic, the leek and the pearl barley. Slice the remaining turnip and cut the slices into quarters before adding to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Cut the beef into small chunks (or shred the brisket), add to the saucepan along with the cooked beans, and cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve in large warm serving bowls.

Tip: This soup can be made without beans (like Scotch broth), or with different beans. WINE RECOMMENDATION: A Beaujolais Villages, a Beaujolais from a specific village such as Fleurie or Julienas, or a West Coast pinot noir.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 5342

nutrition information per serving

656 calories; 10g total fat; 99mg cholesterol; 241mg sodium; 81g carbohydrates; 20g fiber; 64g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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