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Why do people eat Cawl in Wales and How do I cook a Cawl?

Cawl is a traditional Welsh soup that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a simple yet hearty dish that has been passed down through generations of Welsh families. The history behind cawl is steeped in tradition, and it has become an important part of Welsh culture.

The origins of cawl can be traced back to the Middle Ages when it was known as "cawl mamgu" or "grandmother's soup." It was a dish that was commonly made in rural areas of Wales, and it was often made with ingredients that were readily available, such as root vegetables, meat, and herbs.

Cawl was not only a delicious dish, but it was also a practical one. It was often made in large batches and could be kept for several days, making it a perfect meal for families who lived in remote areas and did not have access to fresh ingredients all year round.

Over time, different regions of Wales developed their own variations of cawl, each with its unique blend of ingredients. In North Wales, for example, cawl was often made with lamb, while in South Wales, it was made with beef or bacon.

Today, cawl is still a beloved dish in Wales, and it is often served on special occasions such as St David's Day, which is the national day of Wales. It is also a popular dish in local pubs and restaurants throughout the country.

Here is a recipe for traditional Welsh cawl:


  • 500g stewing beef or lamb

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 2 large carrots, chopped

  • 2 large potatoes, chopped

  • 1 swede, chopped

  • 1 leek, sliced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Water


  1. Brown the meat in a large pot over high heat until it is well browned on all sides.

  2. Add the onions and cook until they are soft.

  3. Add the vegetables, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot.

  4. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2cm.

  5. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

  6. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.

  7. Remove the bay leaf and season the cawl with salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Cawl is a delicious and comforting dish that is steeped in tradition and history. It is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Welsh people, and it is a dish that continues to be cherished and enjoyed by generations of families.

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