Abel & Cole recently contacted me asking if I would like to try one of their mixed fruit & veg boxes. Over the years we’ve had veg boxes off various people so I was interested to give Abel & Cole a try. The box contained potatoes, carrots, leeks, onions, mushrooms, salad tomatoes, savoy style cabbage, apples, clementines, mangoes, bananas. Most of the veg was turned into Ham & Leek pie and a lasagna leaving me with some potatoes, carrots and onions. It was then I decided to make Scouse. Incidentally they are the first company I’ve come across who deliver my favourite beer!
Scouse is a dish, originating from Liverpool, that I’ve been meaning to make for a while and it seemed like a perfect dish to not only use up the veg but to also christen by my Le Creuset dish. My teenage years were spent growing up a stone throw for Liverpool and quite regularly picked up portions of Scouse from the local bakery for lunch. Although the dish had begun to die out over the last few years, I noticed on my last visit to Liverpool it is appearing on menus again. It is this dish that Liverpudlians (aka Scousers) are thought to be named after.
There is different variants of the dish depending on where you are and who you speak to. Scouse is a lamb/mutton stew from Liverpool and was originally brought to Liverpool by North European sailors who called it Labskause. It’s what we would now call a peasant dish using cheap cuts of meat and basic veg. Blind Scouse is the same dish, but without the meat and Lob Scouse (or Lob Skows) is more from North Wales and uses beef rather than lamb or mutton. It’s by no way a posh looking dish, but it certainly fills you up. Traditionally you eat it with pickled red cabbage, which gives the dish some bite and tartness.
This is also an exercise to prove to Hubby that Liverpool does have a famous dish, which at the moment he refuses to believe. I can see his point as I don’t think I can name a single other famous dish from Liverpool, unless and chip butty counts! He wants to call it a hotpot, but I tried to explain calling Scouse hotpot is like calling Beef bourguignon a Lancashire Hotpot.
Some searching in the internet came up with a lots of variations on the recipe, some with both lamb & beef, some with herbs, some with fancier veg and one even suggesting adding tomato ketchup. I decided to stick with what I know and have tasted in turn kept it as simple as possible. It was hard trying not to add herbs to the mix! So here to celebrate the fantastic year that was Liverpool’s year of culture, I present Scouse…
2 tbsp vegetable oil
400g lamb shoulder, diced
1 large onion, cut into chunks
500g carrots, sliced,
2kg potatoes, diced
750ml lamb stock (you could use beef stock)
salt & pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 170oc. In a deep casserole dish heat the oil then brown the lamb. Remove the lamb then fry the onions for a couple of minutes. Return the lamb to the pan then add the carrots and 500g of the potatoes. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and 500ml of the stock.
2) Place the covered casserole dish in the oven for 2 hours. Stir every hour. Once the 2 hours are over stir in the remaining potatoes. By this point the potatoes that went in at the beginning will have begun to disintegrate and thicken the sauce. Add the remaining stock (if needed) and put back in the oven, covered, for a further 2 hours. Serve hot with picked red cabbage and crusty bread.