This traditional Welsh recipe was given to me by the five-time cawl-making world champion, Sue Jones – I can’t argue with that! This one is left to chill overnight before serving, but if you want to let the flavours develop and mature, leave it in the fridge for up to three days.


  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 onion

  • 1kg lamb neck fillet, bone in, cut into 5cm chunks (ask your butcher to do this for you)

  • 1kg swede

  • 2 carrots

  • 3 Maris piper potatoes

  • 2 parsnips

  • 3 large leeks


  • 1.

    Place 2 litres of water and 2 teaspoons of salt into a large pan. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil.

  • 2.

    Peel and add the whole onion and the lamb. Bring to the boil, then use a spoon to skim away the scum from the surface. Simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and leave to cool. Strip the meat from the bone, then return the meat to the pan.

  • 3.

    Peel and cut the swede into 1cm chunks. Add to the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the swede is tender.

  • 4.

    Peel the carrots and slice at a slight angle into 1cm chunks, then add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a further 15 to 20 minutes with the lid on, or until tender. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into quarters so they’re all roughly the same size. Once the carrot has softened, add the potatoes to the pan and repeat the process until tender.

  • 5.

    Peel the parsnips, strip and discard the outer leaves from the leeks, then cut into 1cm slices. Add the parsnips and most of the leeks to the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, or until tender. Taste and season, then add the raw leeks. Place the lid on top, then pop in the fridge to chill overnight (or for up to 3 days for even tastier results).

  • 6.

    When you’re ready to serve, gently simmer the cawl until warm. Ladle into serving bowls, then serve with lots of black pepper, a wedge of mature Caerphilly cheese and a slice of bread and butter.

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