As Autumn begins in the Northern hemisphere thoughts turn to hearty winter fare. Warming soups, rib-sticking stodge, and satisfying stews. What better than a Welsh Cawl to warm your cockles as the nights draw in and the leaves turn to gold and fall? Like all traditional stews Cawl is open to interpretation depending on where in Wales you’re from, the season, and what you’ve got in the larder. Here’s one interpretation:
6 x small Welsh lamb shanks
225g/8oz potatoes, peeled and diced
225g/8oz swede, peeled and diced
225g/8oz onion, peeled and chopped
225g/8oz carrots, peeled and diced
225g/8oz leek, cleaned and sliced thin
A bunch of herbs: Bay, thyme, rosemary and parsley
½ a small Savoy cabbage
2tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan, season the lamb shanks add to the pan together with the onion and brown all over (you may have to do this in batches if your pan is not large enough. Pour over the water and add the bunch of herbs. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Add all the vegetables except for the cabbage, bring up to the boil again, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 40 minutes. Shred the cabbage and add to the cawl, cook for about 5 minutes, then serve.
During cooking the stock will reduce somewhat, so top up with more water, or some wine. You may also wish to add pulses such as lentils, or beans, pearl barley is also good during the winter months.
by Mike Dash
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