Are you sick of lamb yet? Well, I certainly am not, even though last week was kind of over-lambed for us. Yet I keep coming back for more. Today I found a neat little recipe for Cawl — a traditional Welsh hearty soup, typically made with beef or mutton on a bone and whatever seasonal vegetables are available. My vegetables of choice were turnips, robust carrots from the garden, parsnips and potatoes. Simple, yet flavorful.
Keeping things simple in this rustic soup may deceive you at first, but when you slurp your very first spoonful of it, you realize that there is nothing simple about its flavor. Robust colorful vegetable cubes combine nicely with the off-the bone meat, but all of this is just to emphasize and enhance the key of this dish — rich and flavorful broth. This is a perfect cold weather soup, the kind you want to make a large batch of, so that you can waddle back to the stove to get your seconds after you are done with the first bowl. Add a nice crusty bread to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
Cawl — Welsh Lamb and Vegetable Soup
Serves 8-10 reasonably hungry people
- about 4 lbs of lamb, preferably shoulder or shank part, with bones
- 12 cups water
- 1 large yellow onion, peel on, cut in half
- 20 peppercorns, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp butter or tallow
- 6 oz thick slice bacon or salt pork, chopped
- 1 large leek, pale part only, cut in half and sliced crosswise
- 1 large parsnip, diced
- 1 large turnip, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 large potatoes, diced
- lamb stock (above)
- 3 cups water or chicken stock
- 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Make lamb stock, by combining stock ingredients above in a stock pot. Bring everything to a boil, skim, reduce heat and simmer, semi-covered, for about 2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Strain the stock, discard the onion and bay leaves.
Cut the lamb into bite size pieces and reserve for later.
In a pot, melt butter or tallow over medium heat. Add bacon and leeks and saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until bacon is nicely browned.
Add diced vegetables and saute, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so. Add stock, water (or additional stock), thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are done, for about 30 minutes. Correct seasoning if necessary, add lamb meat back to the soup, bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Remove thyme sprigs, add fresh parsley and lemon juice. Serve immediately.