Cawl

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Serves 4-6

OK - it doesn't have a plug and it's not exactly cutting-edge technology but it's energy efficient and helps to keep the nutrients in the food. Yes, the good old pressure cooker has had a makeover and it's a great bit of kit that uses basic science to speed things up, but does what slow-cooking does to bring out flavour and make food tender. If you don't have one, use a normal saucepan but double the cooking time.

Try to buy mutton neck chops for this recipe. That tasty meat is back in season; slow cooking is perfect for mutton, and pressure cooking just makes it quicker. Bacon still remains a favourite food in Wales, and cawl is virtually the national dish. There isn't a precise translation. In Welsh it means soup or broth, but it's actually a meal in itself, a classic one-pot dish, originally cooked over an open fire in an iron pot and containing all the goodness of the land.

Potatoes, lentils and split peas can be added. When you get down to the last bit you can get your blender out again and make a tasty purée. Make enough and you can live off this for days.

1 smoked ham hock, or a thick whole piece of smoked streaky bacon, soaked overnight and washed well
1 neck of mutton or lamb, cut into 2-3cm chunks
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
10 black peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
3 carrots, peeled and cut into rough chunks
2 medium leeks, halved, roughly chopped and washed
1 small swede, peeled
2 tablespoons of parsley, roughly chopped

Put the ham hock, neck of lamb, onions, peppercorns, garlic and thyme into a pressure cooker, cover well with cold water and bring to the boil. Skim, secure the lid and cook for 11/2 hours. The cooking time for these cuts will vary so you will need to check and possibly give them a bit longer if they are not tender. Add the carrots, leek and swede and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. Add the parsley, adjust the seasoning and simmer for a further 10 minutes with the lid off.

To serve, remove the ham from the bone in chunks and serve in bowls with the pieces of lamb, vegetables and cooking liquid. Soak up the juices with chunks of fresh bread.

Comments