The origin of the name Lobscouse possibly dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries when Liverpool, being a major sea port, was inundated with foreign seamen, many from Norway, looking for work.
The Norwegian word for stew just happens to be is lapskaus which could easily have been pronounced ‘lobscouse’ by the local Liverpudlians.
It was a working class dish, little more than a potato and water stew, to which a few cheap cuts of lamb or mutton, carrots and onion were added. The whole thing was cooked slowly to tenderise the tough meat and was thickened by the potatoes.
There was an even cheaper version called ‘blind stew’ which didn’t contain any meat at all.
Although there are more upmarket versions nowadays, ‘Scouse’ is still a popular family dish throughout Liverpool and has even given the shortened version of its name to the Liverpudlian accent while Liverpudlians themselves are often referred to as ‘Scousers’.
50 g beef dripping
750 g shin of beef or lean lamb, cubed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 carrots, cut into thick slices
500 g medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
200 g dried marrowfat peas, soaked overnight
a few sprigs thyme
2 litres beef or lamb stock
50 g pearl barley
salt and black pepper
Melt the dripping in a large saucepan. Season the meat with salt and pepper and fry in the dripping over a medium heat until browned.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, lightly season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 2-2 ½ hours until the meat is tender.
Check the seasoning and serve with buttered cabbage or mashed root vegetables.