Bethan’s cawl

Cawl (photo by Rhyshuw1)

Cawl (photo by Rhyshuw1)

Cawl (broth) has been part of the staple diet of Wales for centuries and this recipe* has pedigree. It’s the real thing, handed from mother to daughter 70 years ago and cooked in West Wales for generations. And like all traditional recipes, Bethan’s instructions are a little imprecise. She assumes you will use your common sense and improvise!

 It is important that you have a reliable butcher. I use a shin of beef and boil the meat the previous evening and allow it to cool overnight. In the morning the fat can be removed by skimming. Prepare the vegetables – potatoes, swede, carrots, leeks. Add salt to taste. Fresh thyme and parsley give a good flavour. Reserve some of the chopped parsley to be added to the individual servings. The cawl can be reheated the next day. It is known in Welsh as “Cawl Eildwym” and is often better than the first serving.

I haven’t got the recipe used at Bethan’s village primary school where, 70 years ago, the school dinners consisted of cawl everyday. It was cooked and then heated up in a cauldron outside. At lunch time every child was issued with a bowl, a wooden spoon and a helping of cawl. The spoons lasted for ever and horrified Bethan with their teeth marks.


Cawl spoon




*This recipe comes from a village about twenty-five miles from Dinas. If you have a more local version, a different recipe or would like to add some more detail to mine, I’d love to hear from you.

About bookvolunteer

I'm passionate about books, about Oxfam and about making the world a better place. When I'm not filling the shelves in Oxfam Wilmslow, I might be found reading the books I've bought in the beautiful surroundings of North Pembrokeshire.
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