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Monday, 8 August 2011

Cooking Scouse like a Scouser!

I had never heard of the dish 'Scouse' before my boyfriend and I moved to Liverpool in 2009 and was always terribly intrigued to find out what it was and to try it.
So what I did find out quite quickly that Scouse is a beef or lamb stew that was very popular to eat among sailors throughout Northern Europe and especially in Liverpool.
The name originally came from the word 'Lapskaus' which is Norwegian for 'stew' and eventually got shortened to 'Skaus' and now 'Scouse'.

The dish was very common among working class Liverpool as it was a cheap meal to make. The original recipe called for lamb or mutton (usually the cheapest cut available) however my boyfriend and I made it with beef as now it is cheaper than lamb and we wanted to keep it as working class as possible. (Actually, we probably needed to save a few pennies ourselves!)
The recipe also called for chopped onions, carrots and water with stock. Then 'as many potatoes as possible' were added to the dish. And many potatoes we did add!
You are supposed to eat the finished stew with white crusty bread with butter, red cabbage and beetroot.

Anyway, unfortunately Scouse is almost impossible to photograph without making it look like a big bowl of sloppy mush but I can assure you if you take the afternoon to make Scouse it is absolutely SO worth it! So please, please don't judge it by its looks and have a read of the recipe below :)

I should probably warn you of the many photos and stories of Scouse under the cut.

















Notes
The Scouse had loads of flavour, but perhaps a little too many potatoes for a couple of us, but being the huge potato fan I am I found the amount just fine!
The recipe calls for half a pound of lamb AND half a pound of stewing steak, but we just used half a kilo of the stewing steak. It also calls for one onion, but we used two and even then we couldn't tell the recipe had any onion in it at the end!
The only other thing I would say about the recipe is that it is supposed to feed 4- 6 people but I'd definitely say it's more on the 6 serves side as it made a huge amount!!
Also forgive me as the recipe works with pounds so have had to use a conversion website and that is the reason why it looks like a strange amount in grams and kilos!

The following recipe is an 'original' Scouse recipe from SCOUSER.COM

Serves 4- 6

Ingredients
- Half a Pound (230g) of Stewing Steak
- Half a Pound (230g) of Lambs Breast
- A large onion
- 1 Pound (450g or around 3 carrots)
- 5 pounds (2.27g) of potatoes
- 2 Oxo stock cubes
- Worcester sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Water

Method
1. Cut the meat into large cubes and fry in the vegatable oil until lightly browned all over. You may wish to add some Worcester Sauce at this point for added flavour.

2. Transfer the meat to a large saucepan and add the onion that should have been chopped into large chunks. Follow this by chopping the carrot into medallions and place this on the meat. Peel and then Finely dice 1lb (half) of the potatoes and place on top of the carrots.

3. Fill the pan with cold water until it is half full. Break up the Oxo cubes and sprinkle into the water. Add salt and pepper for seasoning. Let the pan simmer gently, stirring occasionally. The large pieces of onion will start to break up and the potato will become soft and will make the final sauce thick.

4. Simmer for a total of two hours, then add the remaining potatoes that should have been peeled and roughly chopped, along with a few splashes of Worcester Sauce. Then simmer for another two hours.

5. Serve piping hot with red cabbage, beetroot, pickled onions and crusty bread. You may add Ketchup and HP for flavouring.

















Browning the meat in a pan beforehand and adding a dash of Worcester sauce.

















The meat, onions, carrot and half of the potatoes in the pan just before adding the water and stock.






























Pouring lots of water in to cover all the vegetables.

















We popped a loaf of crusty bread in the oven for about 5 minutes to warm it up.

















Had salt, pepper, Worcester sauce and tomato sauce to chose from, also had beetroot and the crusty bread to have on the side.






























My Scouse with crusty bread and beetroot!


















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Now every Liverpudlian will have their own way of cooking Scouse so if any of you lovely Scousers happened to read this, please don't be angry with me If I haven't done it justice, but it did taste pretty authentic to me if I do say so myself! :)

Scouse recipes vary slightly from different families and different areas of Merseyside, but if you want to try jazz up your Scouse a little (which tends to be a no, no so BEWARE!!) some other recipes use the following;
- Tomatoes
- Thyme for flavouring
- Parsnips
- Swede
- Turnips
- Leek
- Celery
- Peas

And these are a few comments to prove that adding any of the above ingredients (especially celery) is pretty wrong in the eyes of a true Scouser (and even an adopted one like me and my boyfriend!)

- "Leek......? .... hmm.... your on dodgy ground there friend."

- "We always had it with a side of pickled red cabbage.  Celery is morally and legally wrong."


- "NO.  That is not so.  Look mate.  Your mother may well have been corrupted and misled into this peas business.  Fair enough.  It was likely not her fault.   But I am well old enough to be your Nan, and there was no f****** way Nans put peas into scouse" 


- "Mixed herbs and "dumplings" in scouse.  Shame on you.  Heretic."

 - "Celery, peas and herbs in scouse the work of hippies or communists."

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One last little bit to end my complete history and cooking lesson on Scouse are a few places to try Scouse itself in Liverpool if you ever happen to find yourself up in that amazing little North West city wandering about in the cold and craving something delicious!

Maggie Mays

Address: 9 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY
Phone: 0151 709 7600

Maggie Mays has been selling Scouse for over 16 years, ever since John Lea started the business up with his wife. It's a bargain for £4.25 a bowl and comes with crusty bread and beetroot or red cabbage.
It is now so popular that it's even available to take away in sealed tins to take away.



Jamie Carragher's Cafe Sports England
Address: 42/44 Stanley Street Liverpool, L1 6AL
Phone: 0151 239 5070

Eating at Jamie Carragher's Cafe Sports England is probably one of the best ways to enjoy Scouse (or any other food at all for that matter) seeing as though he is an all round legend.
They serve up a nice big bowl of homemade Scouse for £7.95 and it is made up of "Thick and juicy
chunks of meat, with a selection of stewed root vegetables served with beetroot or pickled cabbage and bread."



Newz Bar
Address: 18 Water Street, Liverpool, L2 8TD
Phone: 0151 236 2025

The trendy 'Newz Bar' run by the Flanagan brothers sells a traditional Scouse for £5.95 which comes with beetroot and a bread roll.



You can also grab a bowl of Scouse in the colder months from Ma Boyle's Oyster House in Tower Gardens near St Nicks Church and Hope Street Hotel in Hope Street.

That ends my long, long essay completely dedicated to Scouse, hope you enjoyed reading as much as I love eating it, but I doubt it because it's just THAT good you'll need to make it yourself...
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