Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Labskaus - Lobscouse – Lobsgóws

Labskaus - Lobscouse – Lobsgóws

The origin of the name is unclear but Labskaus was first mentioned in Germany in 1701 for a dish associated with sailors.  At that time they would be at sea for weeks and sometimes months and had to use provisions that would last a long time such as salted meat, potatoes and onions.  This dish can still be found on menus in Northern German, Danish and Swedish restaurant with many variations including the Schleswig-Holstein version which includes beetroot, gherkin and rollmops topped with a fried egg.  Takes a bit of getting use to as it comes out pink.

The seafarers from Northern Germany naturally came to Liverpool docks and passed on the recipe which was adopted to such an extent that those working in Liverpool docks were called ‘Scoucers’ after this dish.

In the 19th Century thousands of Welsh people flocked to Liverpool to find work.  They brought the recipe back with them and adjusted it slightly depending on where they lived, the local ingredients available and include either beef, lamb or pork.

Each family in North Wales will have their own version of Lobsgóws this is my version with a few added ingredients from the traditional.

Serves 4 to 5

500g Diced beef  (traditional shin beef but I tend to use stewing steak)
500g Diced Potatoes
250g Diced carrots
250g Chopped onions
250g Diced parsnips
250g Diced Swede
2 tablespoons
2 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
3 teaspoon Red Current Jelly
2 teaspoons Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon Thyme
¼ teaspoon Pepper
Stock enough to cover
Salt to taste

Add oil to a heavy base casserole dish and fry the meat in batches until brown.
Remove meat from dish and reduce the heat and gently fry the onion until soft.
Return beef to casserole dish add the stock, vinegar, redcurrant jelly, Worcester sauce, thyme and pepper.  
Place casserole dish in a preheated oven at 160ºC and cook for 1 hour.
Add the diced vegetables and more stock to cover if needed and return to the oven at 150ºC for a further two hours.  
Check after 1 hour to see if more water is required and taste, add more seasoning if required.
After cooking for 2 hours check if meat is nice and tender, if not cook for a further ½ hour.
This dish can then be served with crusty bread, but it will taste even better if left for one day and then reheated.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Chicken Basque with Blaen-y-Nant Chorizo

Chicken Basque with Blaen-y-Nant Chorizo

Chicken Basque ready for the oven

My mother-in-law is an exceptionally good cook and every time we go to stay with them we are spoilt by an array of excellent meals.  But occasionally my father-in-law takes over cooking duties and even though he does not have a wide range of dishes this recipe is one he conjures up and always goes down well. 

Even though this dish has a long list of ingredients it is quite easy to put together and does not take long to prepare.

I have used free range chicken pieces but also a locally produced chorizo from Blaen-y-Nant Farm which is located in the Hearathog Hills just above where I live. The farm is home to the Howatson family business, where livestock is lovingly cared for by the family.  The animals are then used to creat artisan cured meats ensuring full tractability, product provenance, low food miles and from experience superior taste.


8 pieces of Free Range chicken pieces
1 tbs Welsh Rapeseed Oil (Blodyn Aur)
1 red pepper
2 small onions
50g sun-dried tomatoes
3 garlic cloves chopped
200g Blaen-y-Nant chorizo sausage thinly sliced
220g brown balsamic rice
Either 300 ml of home made chicken stock or 1 Chicken stock cube dissolved in about 300 mls of water
1 tbs tomato puree
1 tsp Herbes de Provence 
1 tsp paprika
40g black olives (optional)
1 orange cut into thin slices
pinch of salt and pepper to season

Add the oil to a large heavy duty casserole pan.  
On a medium heat gently fry the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, tomato puree, chorizo and sun dried tomatoes and fry for a further minute.
Add the uncooked rice.
Place the chicken on top of the rice.
Sprinkle the herbs and paprika onto the chicken, add pinch of salt and pepper to season.
Add the olives and oranges.
Pour the chicken stock over the chicken and rice.  The stock should just about cover the chicken, if not add some more water.

Chicken Basque ready to be served.

You can either cook this on the hob on a medium heat for about an hour, check occasionally and if it is becoming to dry add some more water or place in the oven on 180C for about 1 hour then turn down to 170C for about 30 minutes. Again check after 1 hour that it isn't to dry, add about 100ml of water.  When ready place in a bowl and goes well with some rustic bread.

Served and ready to be eaten and enjoyed
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