My culinary acquaintance with lamb has largely been limited to grilled lamb chops and lamb stews. I have never boiled lamb and served the meat in a clear soup. Then, I came across a description of the Welsh cawl, my interest was aroused but not enough to make a determined effort to buy the ingredients and cook the soup at home.
Surprisingly, Speedy came across the Welsh cawl a week or two later. What’s the big interest in British food? We love Tom Norrington-Davies’ Great British Food on TLC so we’ve been reading up and making great discoveries. The next time we were in the supermarket, we found ourselves looking for a meaty lamb cut with enough bones to make a good soup.
Welsh cawl is one delicious soup. Uncomplicated to make. Soothing and cheering at the same time, it is perfect for the still nippy nights that will soon give way to the summer.
Cawl is the Welsh term for soup but it is also the name of a soup dish made with lamb meat and a variety of vegetables — usually, whatever is in season.
This is our home version of this traditional Welsh soup dish.
A la Welsh Cawl (Boiled Lamb and Vegetables Soup)
To make the soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 potatoes peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
- 1 large carrot peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
- 2 stalks celery cut into one-inch lengths
- 1/4 head white cabbage cut into one-inch slices
Boil the lamb in a pot of water with the ham bone, leeks and carrot. Skim off scum as it rises. Cover and simmer for about two hours or until the meat is literally falling off the bones.
Scoop out the lamb from the broth. Cool.
Strain the broth. Chill in the fridge until the fat floats and hardens on the surface.
Scrape off the fat from the broth and discard.
Prepare the vegetables; cut the lamb meat into one-inch cubes.
Melt the butter in a pot. Add the chopped onion and cook gently until softened a bit.
Add the celery, carrot and potatoes. Cook, stirring, for about a minute.
Add the lamb meat and the cabbage.
Pour in the broth. Season with salt.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and tender.
Serve the Welsh cawl hot. Ladle generous servings into large bowls.
Best with crusty bread.
Keep the pot of soup within easy reach as second helpings will be required.