Bowl of Scouse
(click to enlarge)

England - Liverpool

2-3/4 quart
3-1/2 hr  

Scouse is so deeply associated with the seaport of Liverpool, the local accented English is called "Scouse". The name, originally "Lobscouse", is of Baltic origin (see History). This recipe is slightly modernized, based mainly (but not entirely) on that of the Liverpool Football Club's Boot Room Sports Café. For strict "authenticity" see Comments.



Beef (1)
-- Roots
Potatoes (2)
Olive Oil
Bitter Ale (3)
Thyme sprig
Bay Leaf
Stock, Beef (4)
-- Serve with
Pickled Beets (5)
Pickled Cabbage (5)  
Prep   -   (40 min)
  1. Trim the BEEF of excess fat and cut into pieces about 1-1/4 inch on a side. Same if using Lamb.
  2. Cut ONIONS into chunks about 1/2 inch on a side.
  3. Peel CARROTS and cut into pieces 3/4 to 1 inch long depending on size. Peel RUTABAGA and cut into cubes about 3/4 inch Mix.
  4. Peel POTATOES and cut into about 1 inch cubes. Mix 1/2 the Potatoes with the Carrots. Hold the other half in cold water until needed.
Run   -   (2-3/4 hrs)
  1. In a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven or similar (I use a 5-1/2 quart multi-ply sauté pan, which is sufficient for up to 1-1/2 recipes), heat Oil. Stir in Beef and fry stirring until the Beef is lightly browned on all sides. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  2. Stir in the Onions. Fry, stirring often, until translucent.
  3. Stir in the Ale, bring to a boil until it is reduced by about half.
  4. Stir in Bay Leaves, Thyme and Stock. Bring to a boil, cover and turn to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir in Carrot mix (which includes 1/2 the Potatoes). Bring to a boil, cover and turn to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Drain and stir in remaining Potatoes. Bring back to a simmer and simmer another 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. If you have too much liquid do this last bit uncovered over heat a bit higher, keeping in mind there's less liquid than it looks like when it's boiling.
  7. Check Seasoning and adjust if needed. Possibly a little more salt.
  8. Serve hot, with Pickled Beets and/or Pickled Red Cabbage on the side
  1. Beef:   Weight is after removing all bones and excess fat. Chuck is preferred, but any flavorful stewing cut will work. Originally Lamb was used, because it was much cheaper than Beef, but today it is so expensive Beef predominates. Some people make it with a mix of Lamb and Beef, and a few do use just Lamb. For economy, Lamb Neck is often used, with the bones discarded after sufficient cooking.
  2. Potatoes:   I use White Rose potatoes which hold up well, but not too well, in stews. Avoid "Yukon Gold" type potatoes which disintegrate into mush if cooked just a little long. If you want your stew more thickened, put the first 1/2 of the potatoes in with the Stock rather than later with the Carrot mix. For details see our Potatoes page.
  3. Bitter Ale:   This should be a good English style bitter ale. One expert suggests Higsons Best, Young's Bitter, Newcastle Summer Ale, or Brooklyn Best Bitter. When I made the photo example, the best I could get my hands on was Newcastle Brown Ale, and the recipe was not ruined.
  4. Stock:   I usually have plenty of home made Beef Stock on hand, but not everyone does. In England, in homes and even professionally, plain water is often used with two Beef Bouillon Cubes and a good dash of Worcester Sauce. Of course Lamb Stock would be perfectly acceptable, but a few deviants use Chicken Stock.
  5. Pickled Beets / Red Cabbage:   It would be considered a mortal sin to serve Scouse without Pickled Beets and/or Pickled Red Cabbage. The Beets are considered the more essential, but often both are provided. See our recipes Pickled Beets and Pickled Red Cabbage. Persons will usually spoon some of one or the other over a bowl of Scouse.
  6. History:   "Scouse" is a Liverpudlian (yes, that's what they call themselves) contraction of "Lobscouse", which is of Baltic origin (Latvian Labs kausis; Lithuanian Labas kausas) both meaning "Good Ladle". It was adopted by most other northern seaports: Norwegian Lapskaus, Swedish Lapskojs, Danish Labskovs and German Labskaus (now quite different). All refer back to a sailor's stew of salted meat and root vegetables, originally thickened with sea biscuits. In Liverpool, it was originally made from Lamb, which was much cheaper than Beef, but today Lamb is by far the more expensive, so it is much less used.
  7. Comments:   Many Liverpudlians would consider this recipe improper and fussy - the vegetables are even still recognizable as what they are. In my defense: Queen Victoria died long enough ago. Today many English chefs endeavor to restore England's pre-Victorian culinary glory, admittedly with a little help from France, Italy and California. To make this recipe "truly authentic", leave out the Thyme and Bay Leaves. Stir all the Vegetables in just before pouring in the Stock. Cook until the Meat is very tender, the Vegetables are totally mushy, the broth is very thick, and it looks kind of ugly. True Victorian cuisine for period re-enactment events!
  8. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
bmm_scouse1 171115   -
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