The word scouse is a shortened form of lobscouse, originally a Norwegian sailors stew of fish and ship’s biscuit.
More popularly today, it’s beef or lamb stew popular in ports and taverns and especially Liverpool.
You know I love the universal dishes that pop up adapted across cultures.
Germans call it labskaus, the Welsh lobsgows, and so on.
I am always on the lookout for meals that can take advantage of leftovers or manager’s special ingredients. You know, for example, that cut of brisket, roast, or round steak which is perfectly fine as long as you’re cooking today — at a steep discount.
All part of stretching the budget in delicious ways.
The absolute key to this recipe, which I found in several of my older and dustier cookbooks, is simplicity. A bit of meat, some potatoes, an onion, carrot, and liquid (stock or water + bouillon).
Cut up the meat, potatoes, onion, and carrots before you start cooking. Defrost a quart of stock, if you have it, or dissolve some good bouillon in a quart of water.
I’m told, in England, Oxo is a popular brand and is available in lamb or beef.
Here in the States, I lean to organic Better than Bouillon (assuming I don’t have stock). I know, but it’s organic and not chemicals, and easier than buying beef bones and making homemade stock just for one supper. (I haven’t seen it at Costco for a while now though, but I have seen it in the grocery store and obviously online).
You might remember, I used their lobster base with great success when I made Orrholmens Laxgryta.
Making this stew is full-on simple. It does cook for a few hours, but that’s back of the stove and go about your business cooking. What’s not to love?
A survey in England a few months ago ranked the ingredients people most often use when making this at home, which is what I’ve made today.
To a lesser extent, some people also add rutabaga, rosemary, peas, parsley, lentils, sweet potato, basil, pork, or tofu.
Like so many of the classics, it depends on what’s in the pantry, refrigerator, freezer, or on the counter at the time. So once you have the basic recipe down, feel free to play with it as your ingredients permit.
By the end of the cooking time, the onions will have dissolved into the broth and the meat will be fall apart tender. It’s so good.
A loaf of crusty bread and pint of your favorite beverage.
Scouse is a simple beef or lamb stew, originally cooked by sailors in Northern Europe, resembling a simple Irish or English stew, which lets the flavors of the ingredients shine through. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
- 1-2 pounds beef or lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- oil for browning meat
- 1 onion, sliced into crescents
- 1 quart beef stock, preferably homemade or water + beef bouillon
- 2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 carrots, sliced into coins
- salt and pepper, to taste
Coat the meat with the flour either by shaking together in a plastic bag or rolling the meat in flour on a plate or in a bowl. Lightly shake off the excess flour.
Heat a stew pot over medium-high heat. Add a glug of oil.
Brown meat on all sides, working in batches if needed, and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with a spoonful of the stock or a couple of ice cubes. Scrape the browned fond from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or similar.
Add another glug of oil if needed. Cook the onions until they start to tenderize, about 5 minutes.
Add the meat (and any juices) and the stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 2 hours.
Taste and season as needed.
Add the potatoes and carrots, stir, and cook for another hour.
Again, taste and season as needed.