• Scouse

    11 votes
    Prep: 20 min Cook: 4 hours Servings: 6
    by Colin Callan
    1 recipe
    Scouse was brought to Liverpool by Northern European sailors, it was originally called Labskause or lobskause. This was finally shortened to Skause and over time the spelling changed to the more Anglicised version we know and love today, Scouse. Interesting Note: The Danish name is "skipper labskovs". In Swedish, it's "kallops". The people who ate Scouse were all generally sailors and their families and eventually all sailors within Liverpool were referred to as Scousers. Time has now taken its toll and everyone from the region of Liverpool and its surroundings are known as a Scousers. Scouse holds a special place in the hearts of us Liverpudlian's it's the defining taste of my hometown and is still regulary eaten today by a great number of families, including my own. I've seen some extremely odd recipes online - adding tomatoes for example (this is a HUGE NO-NO) or garlic or other unneeded ingredients. A lot of recipes add beef as well as lamb OR JUST beef, some recipes say you serve it soupy, or like a hot-pot done on the stove, but I personally think it should be mushy and filling. I will show you how to make a classic version here. Scouse rivals even the chicken soup and hot lemon & honey cures of my, now distant, childhood when it comes to cold hands and feet and runny winter noses. Enjoy this good hearty winter warming stew, guaranteed to get you glowing when it is cold and damp! Scouse is a simple stew which is cheap, cheerful and very very TASTY.


    • 2 Tblsp vegetable oil
    • 2lb of Lamb breast
    • 2 large onions
    • 4 large carrots
    • 3lb potatoes
    • 2 or 3 stock cubes (Oxo cubes) or 3 to 4 cups of beef stock
    • Worcester sauce to taste
    • Salt and pepper to season
    • Water to cover


    1. This takes 4 hours of slow cooking but is worth it! Or you can cook in the oven for 4 hours at 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3 or moderate heat. Alternatively use a slow cooker and cook for 10 hours.
    2. Cut the meat into large cubes and fry in the vegatable oil until browned all over. You can add some Worcester Sauce at this point for added flavour if you wish.
    3. Transfer the meat into a large saucepan and add the onion that should be chopped into large chunks. Follow this by chopping the carrot into medallions and place this on the meat. Peel and then cube into 1 inch squares 1lb of the potatoes and place on top of the carrots.
    4. Fill the pan with cold water until it is half full. Crush up the Oxo cubes into powder and sprinkle into the water. Add salt and pepper for seasoning.
    5. Let the pan simmer very gently, stirring occasionally. The large pieces of onion will start to break up and the potato will become soft, this will make the final sauce thick.
    6. Simmer gently for a total of two hours, then add the remaining potatoes that should have been peeled and roughly chopped and left chunky, add a few more splashes of Worcester Sauce to taste. Then simmer, again gently, for another two hours.
    7. Check for seasoning to taste (Worcester sauce,salt, pepper)
    8. Serve the Scouse piping hot lightly sprinkled with fresh parsley or coriander, with pickled red cabbage, pickled onions and fresh baked crusty bread.
    9. You can eat this with Tomato sauce or HP sauce if so desired but it is so good on its own it doesn't need anything else.


    • John Spottiswood
      John Spottiswood
      We served this for a large group for St. Patrick's day. It was a hit! Great flavor. The fresh cilantro on top was a must from my point of view. I gave everyone the backstory...though our Scottish friend immediately knew it was from Liverpool from the name Scouse. I had to change a few things. 5 pounds of potatoes was too much. I used about 4 pounds, and when I make it again I will probably use 3. Mine came out with a lot more potato than in the picture here. Also, I added quite a bit more water throughout the cooking to keep a decent amount of gravy (the potatoes absorb a lot). Finally, I'd recommend starting this no more than 4 hours early. I started it about 6 hours before serving and let it sit the last 2 hours. That caused a lot more of the water to be absorbed, which made the stew drier than it would have been if I had started it later in the day. This is optional, but I added 1/2 tsp of Garam Masala (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, black pepper). I thought it added a little more richness to the gravy...and I pretended that I was just a Liverpudlian whose brother worked for the East India Company!
      • Colin Callan
        Colin Callan
        Can I apologise for coming across a bit grumpy in my last reply, I'm not really.

        I hope this hasn't tarnished our relationship John? (my frank last reply) My point was that back then this is the way it was made and eaten. Yes it may seem potato heavy but meat was a real luxury and you have to respect that I think? Please try the recipe as you see it and you will find it has a certain charm all of its own.

        Take care John.
        • Colin Callan
          Colin Callan
          Hmmm? Not sure about the cilantro or coriander as we Brits know it OR less potatoes OR adding garam masala

          Basically you have turned a traditional poor persons meal, remember the story about this recipe? into a rich persons indian curry!

          Not what it is meant to be! The reason for all the potatoes and little meat is they were affordable and the meat was expensive. You have not tried Scouse, John.

          Also you say "I'd recommend starting this no more than 4 hours early" and then "I started it about 6 hours before serving and let it sit the last 2 hours", these two statements seem to contradict each other? In my experience the longer the cooking the better it tastes.

          Like I said "I've seen some extremely odd recipes" for Scouse online and yours joins them I'm afraid to say. It may not be to your palate but people HAD to eat it this way, way back when.

          Sorry but I'd like to be honest.
        • Debbi Simms
          Debbi Simms
          Love this recipe Colin and being English I knew straight away what it was.
          • Colin Callan
            Colin Callan
            Thanks Debbi I'm so glad you appreciate good traditional working class foods.
          • Jane Austen
            Jane Austen
            The Scouse Recipe Looks Delicious!
            • Colin Callan
              Colin Callan
              It is if you cook it long and low. Hope you try it?
            • Elaine
              This recipe sounds wonderful for a cool winter stew or just about any time. This recipe is simple yet a complete meal in itself. Coming from European Descent, I am likely to add some garlic, and my preference is a thicker stew...oh yummy. Can't wait to try this...although lamb breast may not be easy to find here in the deep south of the USA.
              • suz
                WOW my mom use to make this and i had forgot about it. Guess what i will make today. thanks John
                • Colin Callan
                  Colin Callan
                  Why are you thanking John? Please try this recipe as it should be NOT like John and turn it into another unrecognisable dish completely. Have some respect for this very humble poor person's food please? It is meant to be vegetable heavy as meat was very expensive to the poor people of the day!
                • Amos Miller
                  Amos Miller
                  Well, this is a wonderfully comforting meal. I appreciate both the wonderful history and deep, rich flavors of this classic comfort food. I did follow your recipe, used lamb, all the potatoes and carrots and only veered off track in two areas: I used my own beef stock, rather than cubes, and I added a nice sprig of fresh thyme to the pot. And you are quite correct, Colin, this is wonderful with a freshly-baked bread... Outstanding!
                  • Colin Callan
                    Colin Callan
                    Thank you Amos, I'm so glad you tried it (amost) as it should be. We have to remember that this is a poor person's food and it is heavy on the potatoes as meat was very expensive to the poor person of the day. Your own beef or Lamb (preferred) is quite acceptable and as for the sprig of thyme, well the poor cook was probably looking for something to add a bit more flavour at the time so I'll forgive you for that. and yes it does go with fresh bread very well indeed. Great for soaking up those yummy juices!

                    This is definitely one of those comforting meals as you say Amos.
                  • Pat Norbury
                    Cori bloody ander?? Are you mad? No, no, nooooo!
                    • Gail
                      Seriously, coriander? That's not Scouse lol. The rest of the recipe sounds perfect although I add Worcestershire Sauce. Me Nan would be turning over in her grave if I went anywhere near Scouse with coriander 😂
                      • thukah
                        wonderful stew came out amazing ty!
                        The British in these comments hear "flavor" and loose their shirts. It says "or", coriander isn't even listed in the ingredients smh


                        • Gary
                          Great recipe..being a scouser. I was brought up on it..coriander though..errrrrr..never ..BEETROOT !!
                          • ShaleeDP
                            This is new to me. Seems a very rich soup to make.
                            • Pat Norbury
                              It's not soup, it's stew.
                            • Gilli Wrightson
                              Gilli Wrightson
                              My Mother came to new Zealand from wales. She calledthis Irish Stew
                              I make it in the winter. I dont add potatoes we serve with mashed spuds
                              Real comfort food
                              • Colin Callan
                                Colin Callan
                                This is not Irish stew Gilli, that is a different recipe altogether, otherwise the title of this would be Irish Stew! Lol.

                                Try the recipe as it is Gilli the next time you do it, I hope you try it again? As I have had to explain to quite a few people this is a poor persons meal hence the ratio of meat to potatoes and the amount of liquid (for dipping your bread in). Meat was a real luxury way back then! We have to remember that this is the way it was and appreciate how things where?

                                Thanks for the comment, really appreciated.
                              • John Spottiswood
                                John Spottiswood
                                I love this recipe and especially the great back story Colin! I'm going to give it a try sometime soon...maybe when I have one of my English friends over so they can wax poetic about their native land! Thanks for sharing and hope you'll share more!
                                • Colin Callan
                                  Colin Callan
                                  Thank John. Make this as it is and experience traditional working class/poor food.

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