What can be better on a winters day than a hearty bowl of Cawl?! Cawl (which rhymes with owl) is basically a chunky broth soup packed with meat and vegetables and is commonly thought of as one of the national dishes of Wales.
The most typical ingredients tend to include bacon or beef with potatoes, leeks, carrots and swedes, but nowadays you’ll often see lamb as the most common meat used.
As I don’t like lamb (yes I know I’m Welsh), I’ve used beef brisket in this recipe, which is cooked until it melts in the mouth! This really is simple traditional cooking, ensuring comfort food at its best!
Serves – 6 (4 adults, 2 children)
Preparation time – 5 minutes
Cooking time – 4 – 4 1/2 hours
Little helpers – Peeling the vegetables and making up the herb bouquet.
Knob of butter
1kg Brisket of Beef
1 Onion peeled
1 Medium Swede
4 maris piper potatoes
2 litres of water
Herb Bouquet (I used sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf tied with string)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a thick set stock pot over a medium heat. Brown the brisket of beef on all sides. This will take 5-10 minutes.
Add the water to the pan, covering the beef. Add a teaspoon of salt, the whole peeled onion, and the herb bouquet. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Cover, and leave to cook for 3 – 3 1/2 hours until the beef is tender. Check on it regularly, ensuring you skim off the surface fat regularly. Add more water when required.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Peel and chop all the vegetables into chunks. I tend to cut the carrots at a angle. For the leeks wash and prepare, by cutting of the ends and then slice into discs.
When the beef is tender and easily pulling apart (check with a fork), take it out, place on a chopping board and carefully remove any fat coating the meat. Return to the pan.
Add the chopped vegetables and cook for a further 45 minutes. At the end pull the meat apart with a spoon and fork. Serve into bowls with crusty bread and a chunk of welsh cheese if you like.
To enhance the flavour, and if you can wait, when cool transfer into a bowl and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Then remove from the fridge, scrape any fat residue from the top, and then transfer to a saucepan and re-heat. Serve when ready as above.