Classic Welsh Cawl Recipe - Hearty Stew with Beef Brisket and Vegetables


Classic Welsh Cawl Recipe - Hearty Stew with Beef Brisket and Vegetables
Region / culture: Wales | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 3 hours | Servings: 6



Cawl is a traditional Welsh soup that is hearty and comforting, perfect for a cold winter day. This recipe has been passed down through generations and is a staple in Welsh cuisine.


Cawl has been a popular dish in Wales for centuries, originally made with whatever ingredients were available locally. It was traditionally a way to use up leftover meat and vegetables, creating a delicious and filling meal for the whole family.


How to prepare

  1. In a heavy soup pot, heat the bacon fat and add the onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, and parsnips.
  2. Brown the vegetables, then remove them from the pot.
  3. Add the beef brisket and brown it.
  4. Return the vegetables to the pot, removing some of the grease according to your preference.
  5. Next, add the bacon and spices, ensuring everything in the pot is covered with water.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, skim off any impurities from the top, and reduce the heat.
  7. Simmer for 3 hours.
  8. Add potatoes approximately 30 minutes before the simmering time is complete.


  • Try adding barley or lentils for extra texture and flavor.
  • Use lamb or pork instead of beef for a different twist on the traditional recipe.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to brown the vegetables and meat before adding the liquid to enhance the flavor of the soup.

- Skim off any impurities that rise to the top of the soup while simmering to ensure a clear broth.

- Adjust the seasoning to your taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Cawl with crusty bread or Welsh rarebit for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

Simmering the soup slowly allows the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use vegetable broth instead of beef stock for a vegetarian version of Cawl.

Make Ahead Tips

Cawl tastes even better the next day, so make a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Cawl in a rustic bowl with a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Cawl with a glass of red wine or a traditional Welsh ale for a perfect match.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Cawl in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

350 per serving


30g per serving


15g per serving


25g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Cawl is rich in vitamins A, C, and K from the vegetables and meat.


Allergens: Contains bacon


Cawl is a nutritious and balanced meal, providing a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.


Cawl is a delicious and comforting soup that is perfect for a cozy night in. With its rich flavors and hearty ingredients, it is sure to become a favorite in your household.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. It was a cold winter day, and I was visiting my dear friend Margaret in Wales. She invited me into her cozy kitchen, where a large pot of simmering soup filled the room with a savory aroma.

"What is that delicious smell?" I asked, my stomach growling in anticipation.

Margaret smiled and said, "It's cawl, a traditional Welsh soup that my grandmother used to make. Would you like to try some?"

I eagerly accepted, and as soon as I took my first spoonful, I was hooked. The rich broth, tender meat, and hearty vegetables warmed me from the inside out. I knew I had to learn how to make this soup for myself.

Margaret was more than happy to share her family recipe with me. She explained that cawl was a dish that had been passed down through generations in her family, with each cook adding their own special touch. As she walked me through the steps, I listened intently, taking notes and asking questions to ensure I understood every detail.

The key to a good cawl, Margaret explained, was in the slow cooking process. The longer the soup simmered, the more the flavors melded together, creating a broth that was rich and complex. She also emphasized the importance of using fresh, high-quality ingredients, such as locally sourced vegetables and meat from the butcher down the road.

As I watched Margaret work her magic in the kitchen, I couldn't help but be reminded of my own grandmother, who had taught me so much about cooking when I was a young girl. She had instilled in me a love for food and a desire to learn new recipes, just like Margaret was doing for me now.

After a few hours of simmering and stirring, the cawl was finally ready. Margaret ladled steaming bowls of soup into rustic ceramic bowls and topped them with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. As we sat down to enjoy our meal, I savored each spoonful, letting the flavors dance on my tongue.

"Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with me, Margaret," I said, wiping my mouth with a napkin. "I can't wait to make it for my own family back home."

Margaret smiled warmly and patted my hand. "I'm sure they'll love it just as much as we do. Cooking is all about sharing love and tradition with those you care about."

And she was right. When I returned home, I wasted no time in making a big pot of cawl for my family. As the soup simmered on the stove, filling the house with its tantalizing scent, I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride and connection to my own heritage.

When my family finally sat down to dinner that night, they eagerly dug into their bowls of cawl, each one exclaiming over the delicious flavors and comforting warmth of the soup. As we ate, I regaled them with the story of how I had learned to make this dish from my dear friend Margaret, who had shared her family recipe with me.

And so, the tradition of cawl continued in my own family, passed down from one generation to the next. Each time I make this soup, I think of Margaret and my grandmother, who taught me so much about the joy of cooking and the importance of preserving family recipes. And I am grateful for the love and connection that food can bring to those we hold dear.


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