Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew)

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint, as was commonly used in times gone by. A bowl of cawl is usually accompanied by crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese, and makes a wonderfully comforting family supper dish. 

Welsh Cawl

with

Blas Y Tir

Welsh Produce

Cawl

Since I moved to North Wales a few months ago, I have been embracing all of the local produce with culinary enthusiasm, and dare I say, greedy zeal! I am blessed to live on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, at the head of the stunning Lleyn Peninsula, where fabulous local produce is easily sourced and enjoyed regularly at our family tea-time table. Dramatic mountain scenery with big sky is what I see from my kitchen window now, and just over the brow of the hill, the hills and mountains give way to a glorious stretch of coastline. The light is iridescent and it almost dances and shimmers in the dawn sky……..clouds scud across huge expanses of blue, and grey skies, and the peaks of the nearby mountains glow crimson in the rays of the setting sun…..it’s an ancient land, battles were fought in our little hamlet, many centuries ago, and the old woods behind our house whisper and rustle in the early morning breeze, as if they want to impart tales from the past. And, it’s because of this surrounding countryside that today’s recipe for Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) (Cawl Cymreig in Welsh) was researched made and enjoyed, a little bit of Wales on a plate, using locally grown and raised produce.

Cawl and cheese

Cawl is what most people regard as the national dish of Wales – the word cawl rhymes with owl, and this traditional country soup is beloved by all Welsh people, young and old, with eyes misting over as they recall their mother’s or grandmother’s recipe for this hearty dish. Similar to a Lobscouse, Lancashire Hotpot or Panackelty, there are many variations of the recipe, but they all seem to have one thing in common, they all have leeks, potatoes and carrots as the main vegetable components, and when meat is used, it seems that lamb is the most popular, although on researching the recipe, it seems that salted bacon/pork and beef were also used at certain times of the year. Thickening agents were oatmeal, as well as flour, but many recipes don’t include any thickening agents, and many recipes prompt the idea that cawl is a thin gruel type broth that contains chunky vegetables and a meat – the idea is that you serve the broth first, and then eat the meat and vegetables afterwards, in the same vein as Yorkshire Pudding if you will, a cheap filler to feed the family.

Cawl Cymreig

My recipe uses fabulous Welsh grown vegetables from Blas Y Tir, Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt and Welsh PGI lamb steaks, for a truly Welsh recipe, deserving of any St David’s Day dinner or supper. By using lamb steaks, or neck of lamb fillets, the dish cooks in about 2 hours, instead of 3 to 4 hours if using a large joint of meat. Serve this bowl of goodness with a hunk of Caerphilly cheese and some crusty bread, for the complete “cawl eating experience”. It’s also one of those dishes that is all the better for being made the day before you plan to eat it……skim any excess fat of the surface, before gently re-heating it over a low heat, until piping hot, then serve as before with cheese and bread. Visit this page at Oakden for other cawl recipes and some interesting history about the dish, including a recipe that uses lamb cutlets, which I may try next time. My recipe for Welsh Cawl (Cawl Cymreig) is shared below, and if you make it, please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as we did. Karen 

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew)

Serves 6 to 8 servings
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Soup, Starter
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint.

Ingredients

  • 600g Welsh lamb steaks, diced (or lamb neck fillets)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (mixed with salt and pepper)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 4 large potatoes, or 8 to 10 smaller potatoes, scrubbed and diced (no need to peel them)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 swede, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, sliced and rinsed thoroughly (greens and white)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly chopped parsley (to garnish)
  • crusty bread (to serve)
  • Caerphilly cheese (to serve)

Note

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint, as was commonly used in times gone by. A bowl of cawl is usually accompanied by crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese.

Directions

Step 1 Dredge the diced lamb in the seasoned flour, and in a large stockpot, heat the oil until hot; add the floured, diced lamb and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring all the time, until the lamb has a golden brown crust.
Step 2 Turn the heat down, add 2 litres of water, before adding the diced potatoes, carrots, swede and parsnips. Season to taste with salt and pepper, place a lid on the pot and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the chopped leeks, replace the lid and continue to cook.
Step 3 Check and adjust the seasoning, scatter the chopped fresh parsley over the cawl, then serve in warmed soup bowls, giving each person some meat, vegetables and the broth. Delicious with crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese.
Step 4 Better is made the day before serving; to serve, skim off any fat and reheat gently until piping hot. Serve as before.

Cawl Cymreig

Caul with Halen Mon

More Welsh Recipes:

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread

Welsh Lamb Cornbread Cobbler

Welsh Lamb Cornbread Cobbler

Welsh Cakes

Magic Microwave Mug Cakes, Welsh Cakes and Custard Tarts

Glamorgan Sausages (Selsig Morgannwg)

Welsh Vegetarian Sausages for a Family Supper – Glamorgan Sausages (Selsig Morgannwg)

Anglesey Eggs (Ŵyau Ynys Môn)

Anglesey Eggs (Ŵyau Ynys Môn)

St David's Day

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