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Cawl Cennin (leek broth)

For six.

Cawl stakes a claim as the national dish of Wales, but every household has a different recipe. Many of them base the stew on lamb, some add a flavoring of ham, and the vegetables that go into the pot vary from house to house. This recipe handed down through generations of our Education Correspondent’s family uses both lamb and beef.

Pigs and Cattle- enough strong beef stock to cover the meat

- 2 ½ lb chuck, shin or other stew beef cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

- 3 lb lamb shoulder chops cut in half widthwise

- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots

- about 1 ½ cups tiny onions (see the notes)

- 1 cup peeled and chopped parsnips

- 1 cup peeled and chopped white turnip

- about 1 ½ cups finely sliced leeks

- 3 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

- salt and pepper

- 1 Tablespoon flour

- 3 Tablespoons minced parsley

  1. Cover the meat with stock and simmer for 2 hours.
  2. Add carrots, onions, parsnips and turnip, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add leeks and potatoes.
  4. If the cawl is dryish, add enough stock to cover.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes and check the seasonings.
  6. Thicken the liquid if necessary with a liaison made from the flour and about ½ cup of the warm stock. Dribble it into the cawl, return the stew to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Stir the parsley into the cawl and serve immediately.


- Frozen tiny onions work fine here and save you a lot of peeling. Thaw them in the microwave and add the liquid that they throw to the pot. If you cannot get little onions just chop up a like amount of big ones.

- If you lack stock, use water.

- Worcestershire may not, strictly speaking, be traditional, but cawl cries out for a generous slug of it at Step 1.

- The same goes for a generous Tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet.