Traditional Welsh Cawl Recipe

Traditional Welsh Cawl
Traditional Welsh Cawl. tirc83 / Getty Images
  • 3 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (15)

"Cystal yfed o'r cawl â bwyta's cig" - It is as good to drink the broth as to eat the meat" and in Wales they will most certainly agree with this statement when talking about their National dish, Cawl. 

Cawl is a stew and made from bacon, Welsh lamb or beef, cabbage and leeks.Though more traditionally cheaper cuts of meat are used.  Welsh recipes for Cawl vary from region to region and sometimes even season to season.

Cawl can be eaten in one bowl, though often the broth will be served first followed by the meat and vegetables - hence the statement above. 

The flavours in Welsh Cawl do improve for keeping for a day or two, so don't be afraid to make it in advance or save any leftovers for reheating

What You'll Need

  • 1 tbsp lard or bacon fat
  • 2 large onions, thickly sliced
  • 1 medium swede, peeled and cut into 1"/2.5 cm cubes
  • 4 large carrots, peeled thickly sliced.
  • 4 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 450g (1 lb)  potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 450g (1 lb) brisket of beef
  • 450g (1 lb) piece of smoked bacon, cut in to 1"/2.5 cm cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.

How to Make It

  • Melt the lard in a large stock pan over a high heat, take care not to burn the fat. Add all the vegetables except the potatoes, to the hot fat and brown for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep to one side.
  • Raise the heat and add the beef to the pan and brown on all sides. Return the browned vegetables to the pan with the bacon pieces and herbs.
  • Cover the meat and vegetables with cold water, bring to the boil, then lower the heat to keep the water simmering and cook for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender.
  • Lift the beef from the pan and keep to one side. Add the potatoes and bring back to the boil and cook for another 20 mins, or until the potatoes are cooked. Meanwhile, once the beef is cool enough to handle, cut into 2"/5cm cubes. Once the potatoes are cooked, add the beef back to the pot and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Season well with salt and pepper and serve while piping hot. The broth from the pot can be served first as a soup, followed by the meat and vegetables, the choice is yours.
The flavors in Welsh Cawl do improve for keeping for a day or two, so don't be afraid to make it in advance or save any leftovers for reheating.