The oldest recipes that I have discovered for Scouse are very simple and have a very small amount of meat in them, 4oz for ten people! The original Scouse is said to of been brought over to Liverpool with Scandinavian sailors in the nineteenth century where it was known as lapskojs or labskaus. However its links with Lancashire hot pot and Irish stew are undeniable. The name of the dish gives the name to the people of Liverpool, therefore you would think it would be treated with great respect, unfortunately you will struggle to find anywhere serving it in Liverpool. Properly made it is soup come stew made from Lamb, mutton or beef with the addition of potatoes water and other vegetable soften served with dumplings and pickled red cabbage or beetroot. My version of Scouse is of the lamb or mutton variety and I have it on good authority that it is a traditional recipe; many people will dispute this and say that you should use shin or flank of beef. I think lamb adds a better flavour that goes with the earthy sweetness of the root vegetables. Scouse is dish you should cook for as many people as you can muster. It is great for a cold winter’s day; eat it with a pint or two of Guinness and a whisky, some of which should end up in the Scouse, for a truly great feast. It can be also made blind (without the meat) however it does become a little bland and require more of a quick from the pickles and whisky.
For 8-10, you could half it but making it for any less people isn’t really worth it
4lb of neck of lamb on the bone or shoulder chops or 4- lamb shanks, if you could buy lambs head one of them would add a tremendous amount of flavour
6 onions peeled and roughly chopped
6 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
10 large potatoes and roughly chopped in to large chunks
2 small turnips peeled and chopped
2 parsnips peeled and chopped
( any root vegetables can be used these are my favourites, just go for a ratio of double the quantity of potatoes to meat and the same quantity of meat to vegetables)
A handful of barley or whole wheat grain
A bouquet garni of parsley bay and marjoram
HP Brown sauce and Worchester sauce
Salt and pepper
Water or stock (don’t use a stock cube just use water instead)
Place your chosen meat in a deep pot covered in salted water bring to the boil and boil hard for two minutes, now throw away the water retaining the meat. Now in your pan place the meat at the bottom followed by the onions then carrots and every thing apart from the potatoes cover with water by a good inch, bring to the boil season generously with salt and pepper, simmer gently for a good hour, now drop in the potatoes and cook till they have completely dissolved. Take off the heat and fish out the bones (and bouquet garni) which by now will have come free of the meat, give it a good stir to break up the meat add brown sauce, Worchester sauce and a splash of whisky some more seasoning if needed . Remember this is a dish about meat and potatoes so its quality lies in the quality of ingredients, try to get good quality lamb even if you are buying a cheap cut as described. If you can get hold of mutton the flavour will be much better, just increase the cooking time to 3 hours. Now serve your Scouse with bread and butter, red cabbage and pickled beetroot adding them to the Scouse as you eat it.
This is a dish that is even better if made one day and reheated the next and the health conscious can skim off the fat. I would scrape it off and put it on some bread to have with it but, I know that is not to every bodies liking, but I love it!