Winter Warmers – Welsh Cawl Recipe

Most countries have rustic dishes of some sort, using up bits and pieces and leftovers.  The Welsh version would have to be Cawl, which essentially uses up winter root vegetables and the traditional, good old Welsh leek.  It can be made with lamb or beef; although as a child, my mother always preferred to make it with beef (shin pieces).  And so, in my adulthood, I have always made it with beef.  Quantities can be varied as it is a dish that uses up those bits and pieces from your larder/fridge.  Here’s one I made earlier (for about six servings):


500g beef (or shoulder lamb) pieces
400g carrots
400g swede
400g parsnips
400g potatoes (waxy variety)
3 large leeks
chopped curly parsley

(This almost filled a saucepan measuring 45cm in diameter and 12cm in height.)

Place the meat in the saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil slowly, then turn down the heat to a simmer.  Skim off the scum that comes from the meat.  Add a pinch or two of salt (optional).

Peel and chop carrots into bit-sized pieces.  Add to the saucepan, adding water to cover if necessary.  Bring through to the boil again, then turn down for simmer.

Repeat with the swede, then leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

005 Peel, trim and chop the parsnips and potatoes as for the carrots and swede and put to one side.  Trim the leeks, washing the green parts well, and set aside the white parts.  Add the parsnips and potatoes to the pot, maintaining the water level and temperature. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the green leeks. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Chop the white leek into rounds and chop the parsley, adding to the pot.  Simmer until all vegetables tender.  Total time from start to finish will be about 1 hour 30 minutes.  Serve with bread to mop up the broth.

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Tastes even better when reheated the following day.

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