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Welsh Food Dishes... Cawl National Dish of Wales. (Weles) with Ingredients

Updated on April 28, 2013

Delicious Welsh Stew

Essential Ingredient a Head of Cabbage.
Essential Ingredient a Head of Cabbage.
Cawl served up with Bread and Cheese
Cawl served up with Bread and Cheese
Leeks a plenty
Leeks a plenty
Cawl in the Pot
Cawl in the Pot
Porthcawl Sunset over the Bay.
Porthcawl Sunset over the Bay.

Cawl for a Hearty, Hot Meal

Wales is not renowned for its wonderful weather, but it is known for its hearty cuisine, so that when you are sitting down to a bowl of steaming hot soup the rain is of no consequence. Welsh people are thrifty and make use of ingredients in season. Vegetables grow well in Wales ; carrots, leeks, onions, cabbage and potatoes are plentiful. A very ancient and, some would say, old fashioned dish is Cawl (pronounced to rhyme with "howl") The name dates back to the Midddle Ages and was supposed to derive from the Latin for Cabbage or cabbage stalk. It was originally a stew boiled up in a large cauldron (this word is probably from the same root) comprising meat as available and seasonal vegetables. It hasn't changed much these days and is still very much enjoyed on a daily basis. Sometimes the soup is decanted from the meat and vegetables and served as a starter and the rest served up as a main meal with a side of fresh bread and salty Welsh butter. Simple yet satisfying.

I worked in a large oil refinery at Skewen. I lived in nearby Porthcawl ( pronounced Porthcall) which was just a small fishing village in Glamorganshire, South Wales. It was named after the bowl shaped harbor reminiscent of the traditional Cawl pot. It is today a thriving resort offering a fun fair, rock pools and bracing sea breezes. Cafes and restaurants usually sport a very good Cawl on the menu

Cawl ingredients vary according to season but invariably contain leeks, cheaper parts of Welsh Lamb and often pieces of Bacon. In our house we had Cawl at least once a week and it would probably stretch for two days. Normally ours was made from breast of lamb and whatever vegetables were in the garden. An important point in the preparation is that the lamb must be prepared the pevious day by boiling in enough water to cover for about an hour and then leaving it to get cold overnight when the hard fat is easily removed. The meat is then removed from the bones and chopped into bite sized pieces.

The Ingredients for Cawl

Approx.8 oz of prepared lamb ... Beef stewing cut may be substituted.

2 medium onions, chopped

3 large carrots. cut into rings.......small rutabaga cut into chunks

bacon pieces if available

Bunch of Parsely .....Salt and Pepper to taste

Head of Cabbage ........ tspn butter or oil to browningredients

Method

If using lamb, start the previous day as already described. Cool overnight and remove fat. Reserve liquid.

In a large skillet. heat the oil or butter to sizzling point and add the diced beef or lamb, brown and place in stew pot , add onions to skillet fry a little then add the diced vegetables. Brown and place in stew pot with the meat. Add the reserved lamb stock (if used) or water to cover. Add a stock cube if liked. Clean and trim head of cabbage, cut into chunks. Reserve to add after about one hour into cooking time with the tied bunch of parsley.

Place covered stew pot into the oven at 350 F for about two and a half hours, don't forget to add the cabbage later! Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper Remove the parsley. The Cawl tastes better the next day so be sure to make enough for two days. In our house we always had suet dumplings bubbling on top, but that is another story.

Serve with crusty bread and good salty Welsh butter and cheese for a hearty dinner. Some people like to srain off the broth and serve it separately to start. We have noticed that it is more frequently seen on pub menus these days. probably part of the think local movement. Enjoy!


The Bowl shaped Harbor at PorthCawl.

Fishing boat at Porthcawl Harbor in South Wales UK........All Photos courtesy Flickr
Fishing boat at Porthcawl Harbor in South Wales UK........All Photos courtesy Flickr

Comments

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    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 8 years ago from USA

      Thanks Gypsy! And great hub. Guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow in my house? :)

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Bon Apetit! Hope you have a great meal. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • RVDaniels profile image

      RVDaniels 8 years ago from Athens, GA

      Looks tasty. Im fond of nearly anything with lamb in it.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Me too. Hope you get to enjoy it soon. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joy At Home 8 years ago from United States

      Perfect! We've got everything on hand.

    • profile image

      Judy 8 years ago

      Another smashingly well-written piece smothered in Welsh cuisine. Can’t wait to see this in print.

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I love stews and almost any dish that uses cabbage. This sounds marvelous!

    • rb11 profile image

      rb11 8 years ago from Las Vegas

      Juat A quick Thumbs Up! This has the flavor of a traditional dish and I'm sure the fresh veggies makes all the difference in the world. Good Hub.

      Regards

    • Kushal Poddar profile image

      Kushal Poddar 8 years ago from Kolkata,India

      Poetry on palette

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Great sounding dish, I dont eat meat,but my children would definitely love it....thanks a lot :)

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi rb11, yu can't beat fresh veggies! thanks for dropping by!

      Thanks,Kushal, glad you like it!

      Hi kiran8, I appreciate your comment. There is a dish called Cawl Cennin which is a meatless version made with leeks, but the traditional one uses meat stock so not really vegetarian.

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 8 years ago

      looks tasty.............leeks are plentiful in Wales are they?

    • Jodi Hoeksel profile image

      Jodi Hoeksel 8 years ago

      Yum, Yum!! Gypsy, I hope you let me know, if you come back for a visit! It would be great to meet you! :)

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Brenda, The leek grows well in Wales and is the national emblem. Welsh soldiers wore them on their caps in 640AD to distinguish themselves from the Saxon enemy. The battle was won. Now the leek (or daffodil for women ) is worn on the 1st March, St David's Day. History lesson over! Thanks for the comment

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Jodi, that would be fun. Thanks for the comment.

    • Not Telling profile image

      Not Telling 8 years ago from Eastern Nowhere

      You know, your hubs make me so hungry.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Well I won't tell you what your poetry does to me!

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      I just ate and that was of no consequence as I read your hub. Lamb and, cabbage 2 faves, I am ready for supper......Thanks!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope you get to enjoy the Cawl!

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

      What, no fish heads? Sounds delicious all the same, and nutritious, (rhyme not intended).

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      You are a poet and you don't know it! (Rhyme intended!)

    • shibashake profile image

      shibashake 8 years ago

      Oh my, this sounds very delicious! I really enjoy how you integrate your own life experiences, and the culture of Wales itself into your recipes. You make a dish into more than just a dish.

      And I very much love your pictures as well. Two spoons up!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Shibashake, glad you are enjoying the recipes. They are from my early years, I am condemned to eating less fattening food these days! :)

    • Zollstock profile image

      Zollstock 8 years ago from Germany originally, now loving the Pacific NW

      Thanks to your hubs, I've been remembering some classic (well, practical, traditional) German dishes as well - it seems there are many parallels. This is very similar to some German stews we enjoyed especially during winter (long live cabbagge!) Only one complaint: I'd leave the parsley in, if I had it my way ;-).

    • Silver Rose profile image

      Silver Rose 8 years ago from UK

      I'd never heard of Cawl before (being ignorant English!). I think you should do a series of hubs about individual Welsh dishes, and then produce a master hub entitled "Traditional Welsh Cookery", which would list the individual dishes with their hub link. I don't think there is much online about Welsh cookery at all, so you could become the expert everyone goes to! Plus it would be all recorded for historical benefit (you'd be surprised how much of the traditional cookery is being forgotten).

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Silver Rose! The reason I started these cookery hubs was because so much is being forgotten. The Lardy Cake one was a reminiscence of my life near Twyford in Berkshie and it grew from there with the food becoming more important than the thoughts of days gone by. Thanks for your ideas and comment.

    • MMMoney profile image

      MMMoney 7 years ago from Where U Can Make More Money

      looks yummy nice one

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      It is yummy especially on a cold winter's day. Thanks for dropping by.

    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 6 years ago

      Just looking at the photos already made me imagine a rainy day made better with a generous bowl of soup, bread and cheese!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for dropping by PaperNotes I agree entirely!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 4 years ago from The High Seas

      Had the good fortune of visiting Wales many years ago.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hope you get to go again soon. Thanks for the kind comment

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