Monday, 5 March 2012

Traditional Cawl recipe

When it comes to food I am easily influenced. Like that cheese advert that sees a string of people seeing and then eating cheese on toast, someone only has to mention a particular food to me and I will immediately start craving and obsessing until I get some.
A few weeks ago we went to The Promised Land for lunch because I'd been craving faggots and peas and they are one of the few places that have them on the menu. One of us ordered the traditional Cawl and when it came it looked very similar to the recipe that I use and so I've been craving that ever since (you can see how this goes).

Cawl is a traditional dish which varies according to the region, season and personal taste, there is no right and wrong (although obviously I am right) so I thought I would share my traditional Cawl recipe with you because it is easy, tasty, cheap. It freezes very well so I always make a huge pan of and freeze into portions for lazy cooking days when I don't want to resort to the chippie!

Cawl

This is my generic recipe but it can be changed according to what looks good and what you like and can be doubled easily. You can also substitute lamb for beef and add bacon if you want. Make your cawl the day before you want to eat it if you can.
  • Lamb shoulder, breast, neck on the bone (1kg) get extra bones if you can!
  • Onion (1 large or 2 small)
  • Bay leaves
  • Leeks (2-3)
  • Potatoes (500g)
  • Parsnips (2)
  • Carrots (4 medium)
  • Swede (1 small)
  • Butter (a bit)
Put the lamb and the bones if you can get them into a pan and cover with cold water. Add the onion in wedges along with 1 of the carrots in chunks, a couple of bay leaves and some peppercorns.

Bring slowly to the boil, simmer for about 2 hours giving the stock the occasional skim, until the meat is falling apart.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the stock which now needs to be strained (I do it through a cloth) and skim the fat. If you have time you can chill the stock and the fat will solidify into a disk which can just be lifted off. Chunk up the meat which should just slide off the bone.

Melt a slice of butter and start softening whatever veg you are using, adding them to the pan starting with the hardest first and softest (the leeks) last. Then return the stock and add your chunks of lamb and simmer gently for about an hour until the veg is tender. Check for seasoning and you can always add a lamb stock cube if you fancy.

Then leave it for 24 hours and serve hot with crusty bread and a piece of very mature cheddar. As we say in Wales, 'Lush'!
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