Its the Season

October 23, 2023

Yes the cold has hit the bones and joints so it is time for that Welsh favourite – Cawl. Cawl as I have stated before translates as “soup”. Go into an eatery in north Wales and order “Cawl” and the response will be which one.

Us southerns know “Cawl” as a chunky vegetable with thin broth & meat. Most recipes talk of lamb where as my family tradition was a brisket of beef.

It is a very straightforward comfort food designed to be warming & filling, without breaking the bank. It lends itself to using up veg and meat before they are cast a side.

In mine I used potato, carrot, sweet potato, leek, & swede. Herbs and spices aren’t really needed but flat leaf parsley always accompanied the Leek version or “Cawl Cennen”. If you want more salt or pepper then add it to taste to the serving bowl not the pot.

For the meat I used a 700g cut from a large ribeye joint I had butcher at the start of summer & had frozen. I placed the meat in a pressure cooker, covered with water and added 3 OXO stock cubes. I set the cook time to one hour. Whilst the meat was cooking I prepared all the veg in a chunky manner.

A traditional accompaniment to Cawl is bread and cheese. My tastebuds welcome a little Caerphilly however, I couldn’t track down any in Llanelli on Saturday which was strange since there was a Food Festival taking place. Wensleydale is the nearest in both flavour and texture. I went with an extra strong Welsh cheddar and decided to have a ‘rarebit’. Locally baked bloomer covered with cheddar and chopped garlic was air fried for 9 minutes and left to cool.

When the pressure finished I removed the meat to a board and added the veg to the stock. I then ‘pulled’ the meat before returning it to the pot and mixing with the rest of the veg. A further 15 minutes of pressure cooking & the Cawl was ready to stand. Whether you slow cook or rapid pressure cook, Cawl is always better the next day or at least make at breakfast time and have for dinner. One aspect of the pressure cooker is the locking mechanism. Sealing the lid kept the steam in the pot and allowed residual diffusion of flavours. The pot was still lukewarm come dinner time & needed only about 20 minutes on the reheat setting. The rarebit again was put in the airfryer for 2 minutes just warm but not re-melt the cheese.

My dinner was complete. A traditional Welsh delicacy of Beef Cawl with garlic rarebit washed down with own home-brewed Cider (apples from the Burry Port).

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