Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cawl for Dinner

Thanks to my host Jayne for a wonderful meal last night. Made a delicious Vegetable Cawl. Some info about the dish which is a traditional welsh meal.

From Wikipedia

Cawl is the Welsh word for soup or broth. The term is used in English to refer to traditional Welsh stews, usually containing meat and vegetables. Its ingredients tend to vary, but lamb and leeks are particularly common, owing to their association with Wales.


Traditionally, Welsh stew usually contains meat, normally cut into small pieces. This may be lamb or mutton (with the fat trimmed or skimmed off the broth during cooking), beef, pork or bacon, the bacon sometimes being added as an accompaniment to another meat. The vegetables used also vary, though leeks are particularly often included, as are potatoes and carrots along with celery and onion and maybe parsnip or turnip.
"Cawl cennin", or leek cawl, can be made without meat but using meat stock. In some areas cawl is often served with bread and cheese. These are served separately on a plate. The dish was traditionally cooked in an iron pot or cauldron over the fire. It is often said that cawl was originally the leftover meat and vegetables from the rest of the week boiled for another meal.
Normally cawl is eaten in a bowl as a one-course meal. In some parts of Wales however the broth from the cawl was eaten as a first course and the meat and vegetables eaten separately as a second course.

The word

The word cawl in Welsh is first recorded in the 14th century, and is thought to come from the Latin caulis, meaning the stalk of a plant, a cabbage stalk or a cabbage.
It is pronounced like the word 'cowl' but with the 'a' spoken as in 'cat'.
In Welsh, gwneud cawl o [rywbeth] ("make a cawl of [something]") means to mess something up.

Symbolic importance

A story is related concerning the Welsh king Gruffydd ap Llywelyn and a pot of cawl. Gruffydd's father Llywelyn ap Seisyll had been king of a considerable part of Wales in the early 11th century, but on his death the throne was taken over by another dynasty. His son Gruffydd was said to be an idle youth, and one New Year's Day was driven out of the house by his exasperated sister. Leaning against the wall of another house he heard the comments of a cook who was cooking a dish which appears to be cawl. The cook complained that one piece of meat kept rising to the surface however often it was pushed down. Gruffydd took that to refer to himself and from that day on changed his outlook on life, to such effect that by 1055 he was king of all Wales.

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