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meat and fish | Nanny Dot's traditional pure Welsh cawl

Serves 4

Recipes for cawl vary slightly depending on region and how the recipe has been passed down through families, but this is my grandma's and it's absolutely delicious. Family still plead with my gran for her to make some! It's not a fussy dish, but my goodness it's a tasty one!

Wheat free, dairy free, nut free version...




  1. Heat the oil in a large pan.
  2. Seal the meat joint for a few minutes on each side.
  3. Add the onions and shallots and cook until golden.
  4. Add the leeks and seal.
  5. Cover the joint and vegetables with water - no further than the top of the joint.
  6. Put a lid on and cook for 2-2½ hours.
  7. Add the swede and parsnips and carrots.
  8. Cook for a ½ hour.
  9. Add the potatoes and cook for a further ½ hour.
  10. If you're using bacon, put the slices in whole for 30 minutes before you finish cooking, then remove them.
  11. You can also add parsley, if you wish, before serving.
  12. Ideally, you'd make this in the morning, cook it, let it stand and then reheat in the evening - but sometimes that's just not possible.

Maybe serve with...

Traditionally, this is served with chunks of bread and cheese, but it's delicious just served on its own.

For those able to eat wheat...

Think peasant food for this dish - so serve with roughly ripped chunks of bread. This is not a dish to serve with delicate slices of bread and butter. My grandma used to make this for everyone who worked on their farm for lunch on winter days.

For those who can eat dairy...

You could add a knob of butter to the oil when searing the meat in the beginning, or smear the chunks of bread with it.

If you have lamb leftover, see the flat roof cottage pie or the coconut pork or lamb. If you have carrots and leeks leftover, see the minestrobe soup or perfect pot chicken. If you have leeks and potatoes leftover, see the leek and potato soup. If you have onions, leeks, swede and parsnips leftover, see Shamala's soup or vegetable stock. If you have potato, swede and onions leftover, see the bean chilli or Italian beef stew. If you have onions, potatoes, carrots and leeks leftover, see Nanny Eve's chicken soup for the soul.

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