I’m including this Welsh recipe for Patricia! Apparently Cawl was originally made with bacon, and fat bacon at that, but now it is usually made with lamb, although there are those aficionados who maintain it should be made with brisket of beef. Cawl was originally the staple diet of poor farmers, and ingredients would vary with the seasons and what was available.

I always start the Cawl the day before so that any fat can be removed. This, of course, was not common practice until fairly recently, and there are still those who maintain that if there are no stars of fat on the Cawl it cannot be a good one! An expression often used by Cawl lovers is that “Cawl Ail Dwymo” (Cawl twice warmed) is even more delicious.


  • 3 lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 medium parsnip, cut in chunks
  • 3 large potatoes, cut in chunks
  • 3 large leeks, sliced
  • 1 large bunch of parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Cover the lamb with cold water, add half the sliced onion, and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and leave overnight to get cold, when you can easily remove the fat.

Strain the stock into a clean saucepan, reserving the lamb. Bring the stock to a boil, then add the carrots, parsnip, potatoes, remaining onion, 2 of the leeks, and half the parsley. Leave to cook gently for 30 minutes.

Return the lamb to the broth, just to heat through. Add the remaining leek and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, and the Cawl is ready to serve.