We came across Welsh cawl on Tom Norrington-Davies’ Great British Food long ago. My first recipe was based on his but I have since done two tweaks to downplay the strong aroma of lamb. The first tweak is using vegetable broth rather than the liquid in which the lamb was simmered. The second is using finely chopped mint as garnish. Other than those two, my recipe remains the same.
Chopped onion is sauteed in butter and, when soft, celery is added. Sauteeing continues for a minute before the diced carrot is thrown in. The diced potato go in next and, finally, the cabbage. The vegetables are stirred lightly to coat each piece with butter.
If you’re wondering about the logic behind the order by which the vegetables went into the pot, it’s like this: Onion and celery for aroma and flavor so they go in first. Carrot takes longer to cook than potato so it goes in next to give it a headstart.
When the cabbage starts to soften, the vegetable broth is poured in and the diced cooked lamb is added. The cawl is left to simmer until the vegetables are done.
- 400 grams lamb we used shoulder
- 2 stalks leek
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery cut into one-inch lengths
- 1 large potato peeled and diced
- 1 large carrot peeled and diced
- ¼ head white cabbage cut into one-inch slices
- 4 to 6 cups vegetable broth
- chopped mint leaves to garnish
- Place the lamb in a pot and pour in just enough water to cover.
- Add the leeks and a tablespoon of salt.
- Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about two hours or until the meat is literally falling off the bones.
- Scoop out the lamb from the broth and cut into one- to two-inch pieces.
- Melt the butter in a pot. Add the chopped onion and cook gently until softened a bit.
- Add the celery. Cook, stirring, for about a minute.
- Add the carrot, stir, and cook for a minute.
- Add the potato and cabbage, and stir until the cabbage is starting to soften.
- Pour in the broth. Season with salt.
- Add the lamb.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and tender.
- Ladle generous servings into large bowls and garnish with chopped mint leaves.
- Serve the Welsh cawl hot.