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Information about Cawl plus Cawl Recipe

Welsh Speciality Dish


Scroll down for a Traditional Cawl recipe



Go to:-   Wales Main Page Wales Featured Ingredient  |  Cooking by Country Main Page




Although there is no translation for the word cawl, in Welsh it has come to mean 'broth' or 'soup'.  However this translation doesn't quite cover what this dish is all about.  It is a  one-pot meal which was traditionally cooked in an iron pot over an open fire, into which all manner of vegetables and meat was added, depending on what was in season, forming a heaty warming dish which contained all the goodness the land had to offer. 


Items such as home-cured bacon, lamb, beef, cabbage, swede,  potatoes and  leek were traditionally used although it is safe to say that every household had its own favourite recipe.


Cawl can be eaten can be eaten as one course,   many serve the broth as a first course with the meat and vegetables as the main course.


Whilst considered by many to be the national dish of Wales, because everyone has their own version its impossible to give a definitive recipe.  Traditionally it is eaten with  wooden cawl-spoons, served with good bread and sometimes a piece of cheese.


Below is our version of Cawl but do experiment and just add what you have available.



Cawl Recipe      HT  MC  SP  Welsh  150mins


Serves  4-6     Hot   Beef  Pork  Vegetables  Soup   Main Course   Gluten Wheat Dairy Free  Eggless  Wales  Britain  British  Europe



   1 tbsp Lard

   2 Onions, roughly chopped

   4 Large Carrots, thickly sliced

   1 small Swede, cubed

   450g/1lb Braising Beef or Neck of Lamb

   1 x 450g/1lb Smoked Bacon Joint, cut into 8 pieces

   12 Black Peppercorns

   1 Clove

   2 Bay Leaves

   4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

   Water or stock to cover

   450g/1lb Potatoes, cut into large cubes

   4 Small Leeks, very thinly sliced for garnish




1. Heat the lard in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the onions, carrots and swede and brown on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.


2. If using beef, cut into 4 equal pieces. Add the meat to the pan and brown on all sides.


3. Return the vegetables to the pan with the meat and add the bacon and herbs. Cover with water or stock  and bring to the boil.


4. Skim the surface then reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring from time to time and keeping the liquid level topped up.


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5. Add the potatoes to the pan and continue to simmer for a further 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.


6. To serve - divide equally between 4 bowls, placing a piece of each meat plus some vegetables and broth.  Garnish with lots of finely chopped raw leeks.  Serve hot.


Very good re-heated. Traditionally the broth was served as a starter with the meat and vegetables served separately as the main course.



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