Easy, But Not Simple: Making Welsh Lamb Soup

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.

Cawl -- Welsh Lamb & Vegetable Soup

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.

Lining up vegetables for Cawl - Welsh Lamb Soup

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Categories: Batch Cooking, Cravables, Dinner, Main Courses, Quick & Simple, Soups, Traditional Nutrition, Well Worth The Effort

Author:Eat Already!

I am a cooking and writing addict born and raised in a cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea coast. Currently my interests include, but not limited to gardening, traditional nutrition, raw milk, fermentation techniques, books by Sitchin, Weston A. Price ideas, artisan bread making, anything handcraft, and many other, quite random, things. I believe in making things from scratch, in unpretentious dishes, visually un-altered food esthetics. I believe in reporting on daily cooking endeavors, not just on special occasion dishes. I believe everyone should learn how to cook at home because it's a great way to connect with your loved ones without saying too much, with your heritage without becoming an archivist, and with the world without learning languages...

One Comment on “Easy, But Not Simple: Making Welsh Lamb Soup”

  1. February 12, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    This looks delicious; I’ve been making soups all week… Will have to pick up some lamb to try this one!

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