Cawl (pronounced ‘cowl’) is a basic Welsh lamb stew. Historically the Welsh were poor miners and farmers, so the traditional foods tend to be simple and lean heavily on what cheap ingredients were available. Lamb was plentiful and not costly for them; leeks seem to be in almost everything. Now, what I pay to get lamb takes a week’s grocery budget!
If you get the Travel channel, check the backlist for Delicious Destinations, Andrew Zimmern’s trip to Cardiff, Wales. I drooled all the way through.
(All the root vegetables should be cut into chunks of similar size, to ensure even cooking. And you’ll need a good grocery store in order to get rutabagas, parsnips and leeks; try the “organic” section.)
1.8 kg (4 pounds) lamb neck or chops, or a mix of lamb cuts
salt and pepper to taste
4 white potatoes cut into large chunks
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1/2 swede (rutabaga/neep), cut into large chunks
Optional: 1 parsnip, cut into large chunks
2 leeks, sliced (green and white parts)
1 or 2 vegetable stock cubes, to taste
Optional: Parsley sprigs
- Put the lamb in a large pot. Cover with water, add salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes or more, until tender.
- Skim the fat from the top of the water. Remove meat and cut into smaller chunks; add back into pot.
- Add all the root vegetables. Cover and simmer another 45 minutes.
- Add the sliced leeks and vegetable stock cubes. Add more salt or pepper if needed. Boil gently for 20 to 30 minutes. You can add parsley sprigs when ready to serve.
Serve hot with hearty bread. Can be refrigerated and reheated the next day.