Scouse doesn’t spell check. Scouser doesn’t spell check. You know the second one – many will – a native of Liverpool, having a strong sense of humour and fun, loves to party, and we all steal wheels from cars (stereotyping is quite nauseating sometimes!). But this recipe is where the name comes from
Anyway – Scouse is actually a hearty stew – but quite different from most stews. It ends up with a colourless liquour, not dark like most casseroles. We had it at my sister’s recently, and she added something that I don’t – and it does add a lot of flavour. The stew is quite cleansing, hearty, and lovely when winter draws on…
I am from Liverpool and this take on a mix between Irish stew and Lancashire Hot Pot is exactly where Liverpool is geographically. I’m going to give you my mum’s method. It is slightly different from most other instructions in my cookery book, because there is no pre frying of the meat. Funnily enough, this makes it come out with a very clear soup like liquor, which makes it feel almost medieval in style, like it has been cooked over an open fire.
- ¾ lb of stewing beef, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped cross ways, about ¼ inch thick coin shapes (after peeling of course)
- 3 medium sized potatoes – about ¾ lb
- ½ a chicken stock cube
- Salt and ground white pepper
- (Sisters extra ingredient – A large handful of shredded cabbage. This disappears in the cooking, but adds piquancy!)
All you do is throw everything into a large stock pot, cold. Add water to cover it all. Sprinkle the half stock cube and stir in. Add salt and pepper, bring to the boil over a high heat, then simmer for an hour, at as low a temperature as you can. You will find the meat is melt in the mouth, the potatoes are disintegrating a little, the carrots are really bright orange and the onions have melted away. The liquor is colourless – and very tasty. It is more like a very thick soup than a real stew – and all the better for it. It stays colourless because you haven’t pre-fried everything – so no ‘browning’ takes place
When family fortunes were low, the dish was made with no meat – and was then called ‘blind scouse’.
As you know, nearly all my recipes are designed for two – and the quantities above look too much. They are – deliberately so. This is a two day meal. Once cooled, keep your day two half of the scouse in the fridge, (after allowing it to cool), and re-heat it the next day. The whole thing will have evolved and fermented – the potatoes will have thickened the sauce up a bit because they will have broken down a bit more; the meat will be even more melt in the mouth, and the whole will be just a little darker and more homogeneous. And it will be even better tasting.
Traditional accompaniments include pickled beetroot, piccalilli and HP Sauce. And I have a tear in my eye writing about it.