Have you heard of lobscouse?
This hearty beef stew is steeped in history as deep as its flavour.
With split peas, potatoes, carrots and swede, it's a frugal meal in one pot to easily feed a family.
Make it really budget friendly by increasing the vegetables and freeze portions in batches, as it tastes even better reheated.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Budget friendly ingredients and cooked in the slow cooker to save energy costs.
- Freezes well and tastes even better reheated.
- Easy to vary the ingredients if needed.
- Great for feeding a crowd.
- Plenty of vegetables for a balanced meal.
- One pot dinner.
There is a huge history associated with this dish that seems to be connected to sailors travelling to the UK since viking times and bringing their traditional dishes with them.
It comes from the word lapskaus, which is Norwegian and it is a dish that is widely eaten in northern Europe.
In the UK the word has more commonly been reduced to scouse, a stew made of leftover lamb or beef with carrots, onions, peas and potatoes. It is particularly associated with the port of Liverpool, where the people are affectionately known as scousers.
It has always been a poor man's dish, using the cheapest cuts of meat with whatever vegetables are available at the time.
💙 Save this recipe for later
Did you know? When you see the 💙on the right hand side, you can bookmark the page to save it for later, or share it too. This is also the best place to subscribe for weekly updates
- Beef - any beef labelled strewing steak, casserole steak or braising steak. Due to the long cooking process, any cheaper, tougher cut can be used.
- Onion - brown onion.
- Carrots - any shaped carrots as they will be cut up.
- Swede - small swede (rutabega),
- Potatoes - any variety of potato from common white potatoes to new potatoes.
- Peas - dried yellow split peas. These are great for bulking out the stew and are full of protein and dietary fibre.
- Stock - beef stock made with concentrate or fresh beef stock. Some store bought stock is quite salty, so always use salt sparingly to taste.
- Flour - plain or all purpose flour to thicken the gravy.
- Bay leaf - use dried bay leaves as they have a subtle favour. Fresh leaves can be overpowering.
- Thyme - dried thyme.
- Salt - use sparingly.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Oil - vegetable or olive oil for frying the meat and onions.
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post.
- 3.5 litre / 5.3 pint capacity slow cooker
- chopping board
- sharp knife
- wooden spoon
- large skillet or frying pan
- slotted spoon
The night before making the scouse it's important to soak the peas overnight. This softens the outer skin ready for cooking.
Put the peas in a large bowl and pour over 550 millilitres of water. When you are ready to cook the lobscouse, drain the peas and rinse well in cold water.
Put the peas in a saucepan with the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes then turn off the heat, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Peel the potatoes, swede and carrots and cut into cubes of about 1 centimetre.
💭 Top Tip
- The potatoes will cook quicker than the swede and carrot, so you can leave the potato in 2 centimetre pieces.
Put the carrot, swede and potato in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Finely chop the onion.
Heat the oil over a medium heat in the frying pan.
Add the onion and cook for 3 - 5 minutes until softened.
Transfer to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
Cut the meat into bite sized pieces.
If you have bought ready cut meat then check that the pieces are roughly the same size. I often find that some pieces have been missed.
Sear the meat on all sides. You may need to add a little more oil.
If you need to cook in batches put the seared beef on a plate.
💭 Top tip
- It's easier to sear the meat in batches without crowding the pan. . This ensures that the meat is nicely caramelised rather than steamed.
- Put the meat in the pan and leave for a few minutes. Use tongs to turn the pieces over.
- Transfer the seared meat to a plate with a slotted spoon, then continue to cook the next batch of meat. Add more oil if required.
When all the meat has been seared return it to the pan.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir with a wooden spoon so that it coats the meat.
Add the stock, thyme and pepper to the pan and bring to a simmer.
Transfer to the slow cooker.
⏲️ Cooking Time
Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 - 8 hours.
The exact cooking time will depend on your slow cooker. You could always set the scouse to cook overnight.
💭 Slow cooking tips
- Preheat the slow cooker while you are preparing the ingredients.
- Vegetables can take a long time to cook in a slow cooker, so always place large pieces at the bottom. A slow cooker with a larger capacity cooks vegetables more evenly.
- Make sure that there is at least 2 centimetres of space in the bowl when it is full.
- Do not remove the lid in the first half of the cooking time, as valuable heat will be lost and cooking time will need to be extended.
- All stock should be boiling when added at the beginning of cooking.
- Slow cookers may need more or less time, so make sure that the meat is tender before serving.
- It's not a problem if the lobscouse is left to cook for a few extra hours.
Check the seasoning before serving.
Scatter over some chopped parsley if liked and get stuck in.
🥗 Serve with
Scouse or lobscouse is a complete meal in itself, but to stretch it out further, try serving it with one of these side dishes.
- Honey Roast Chantenay Carrots
- Leeks in White Sauce
- Honey Roast Carrots and Parsnips
- Fried Cabbage with Bacon
- Roast Savoy Cabbage
- Whole Baked Cauliflower Cheese
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Roasted Long Stem Broccoli
- Roasted Swede Chips
- Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Peas - use pearl barley or lentils. There is no need to presoak overnight.
- Lamb - swap the stewing beef for lamb or use leftover roast lamb.
- Vegetables - try celery, celeriac, parsnips, turnips or butternut squash.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Prepare all the vegetables 1 or 2 days in advance and store in containers in the fridge.
- Cook up to 3 days in advance of serving.
More slow cooker recipes you may enjoy
- Slow Cooker Beef and Ale Stew
- Slow Cooker Christmas Pudding
- Slow Cooker Brisket and Gravy
- Slow Cooker Beef Cheeks
- Slow Cooker Turkey Crown
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef Hash
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Rice Pudding
- Slow Cooker Venison Stew
- 3.5 litre /5.3 pint capacity slow cooker
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Wooden spoon
- large skillet or frying pan
- Slotted spoon
- 500 g stewing beef
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 500 g swede rutabega
- 500 g potatoes
- 200 g yellow split peas
- 500 ml beef stock
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Put the peas in a large bowl and pour over 550 millilitres of water and leave overnight. Drain the peas and rinse well in cold water.
- Put the peas in a saucepan with the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Peel the potatoes, swede and carrots and cut into cubes of about 1 centimetre.
- Put the carrot, swede and potato in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Finely chop the onion.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat in the frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 3 - 5 minutes until softened.
- Transfer to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
- Cut the meat into bite sized pieces.
- Sear the meat on all sides. You may need to add a little more oil. When all the meat has been seared return it to the pan.
- Sprinkle over the flour and stir with a wooden spoon so that it coats the meat.
- Add the stock, thyme and pepper to the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 - 8 hours.
- Check the seasoning before serving.
- Scatter over some chopped parsley if liked and grab a spoon.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
Do you have a question or did you make the recipe?
Please leave a rating as it helps other readers to discover the dish. Your name and email are required to avoid spam comments; they are never used for any purpose or shared with third parties
However, due to spam comments, I do have to moderate each one, so don't worry if you cannot see your comment immediately. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can.