Cosy cawl

Make this Welsh winter classic that was once cooked in cauldrons over a crackling fire with this easy cosy cawl recipe.

Published: December 28th, 2019 at 12:13 pm
  • Easy
  • Serves 2 to 3

Musician and BBC presenter Cerys Matthews shares her version of a Welsh winter classic that was once cooked in cauldrons over a crackling fire.

Where the Wild Cooks Go by Cerys Matthews (Particular Books, £25) is out now.

book cover


  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Leek, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 Parsnip, chopped
  • 400g Swede, chopped
  • 2 Thyme sprigs
  • 1.2l Water, plus vegetable stock cube (optional)
  • 400g Butter beans, cooked, add their liquid - pre-cooked kidney beans, black-eyed peas, peas or fava beans also work
  • A handful of fresh parsley


  • STEP 1

    Put the onions and leeks in a pan with a glug of oil and sauté with a pinch of salt until soft.

  • STEP 2

    Stir in the rest of the peeled, chopped vegetables, the herbs and the water, bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are all tender – around 30 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Add the butter beans with the liquid and stir through. Keep at a gentle simmer, season to taste (it’s now technically ready, but can be left at the lowest setting to wait for you).

  • STEP 4

    Serve in bowls (traditionally wooden ones, with wooden spoons, but hey); sprinkle with chopped parsley. On the table, offer a chunk of cheese and the grater, and salt and pepper.

* Non-veg option: Fry up small pieces of lamb quickly in hot oil before you fry the onion; remove from pan and set aside, adding back in at step 2. Traditionally, cheap cuts like the neck were used, so the longer you simmer, the less tough the meat. Taste to see and keep adding water if it gets too thick.


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