Cawl pronounced 'cowl', is Welsh for
broth or soup. Like all traditional country soups the ingredients
are governed by what is to hand or in season. It appears from
early Welsh manuscripts that originally the main meat used was
bacon, or even kid, for as with Irish Stew, no cottager would
dream of using valuable lamb or mutton for soups. Nowdays, however,
mutton or lamb best end of neck chops are most generally used,
which make it inyo a delicious soup-stew.
"Cystal yfed o'r cawl â bwyta's cig"
- It is as good to drink the broth as to eat the meat': from
a collection of proverbs attributed to Cattwg Ddoeth (Cattwg the
Cawl should be started the day before so that any fat can
be skimmed off and all the flavours amalgamate.
2-3 lb. Welsh lamb best end of neck cutlets
1 large sliced onion
2 medium sliced carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small swede turnip or 2 white turnips
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 small potatoes
salt and pepper
4 pints (8 cups) water
If in season cabbage, celery, etc., can all be used.
Trim the meat of fat so far as possible, cover with cold water,
add salt and pepper, bring to the boil, and simmer slowly for
1 hour, then leave it to get cold and skim off all the fat. Put
in all the vegetables except 1 leek, the potatoes and half the
parsley, cover and simmer very slowly for 1 hour, then add the
potatoes cut in half and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Then
add the remainder of the parsley, taste for seasoning and finely
chop the remaining leek (green and white part) on top. Let it
cook for not more than 5 minutes and serve. Some families treat
it as a French pot-au-feu - that is, they serve the clear broth
first, then the meat and vegetables as a second course. Traditionally
Cawl was eaten in wooden bowls with wooden spoons so that there
was no fear of burning the mouth. Serves 4-6.