Cawl is the Welsh word for soup or broth. The term is used in English to refer to traditional Welsh
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

s, usually containing meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s. Its ingredients tend to vary, but lamb and leeks are particularly common, owing to their association with Wales.


Cawl usually contains meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

, normally cut into small pieces. This may be lamb or mutton (with the fat trimmed or skimmed off the broth during cooking), beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

, pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

 or bacon
Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon . Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating...

, the bacon sometimes being added as an accompaniment to another meat. The vegetables used also vary, though leek
The leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum , also sometimes known as Allium porrum, is a vegetable which belongs, along with the onion and garlic, to family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Allioideae...

s are particularly often included, as are potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

es and carrot
The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh...

s along with celery
Apium graveolens is a plant species in the family Apiaceae commonly known as celery or celeriac , depending on whether the petioles or roots are eaten: celery refers to the former and celeriac to the latter. Apium graveolens grows to 1 m tall...

 , onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

 , parsnip
The parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler than most carrots and have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. The buttery, slightly spicy, sweet flavor of cooked mature parsnips is reminiscent of butterscotch, honey, and subtle cardamom...

 , swede
The rutabaga, swede , turnip or yellow turnip is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip; see Triangle of U...

 , and turnip
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock...


"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 and served in china pudding basins with wooden spoons.

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
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 is first recorded in the 14th century, and is thought to come from the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 caulis, meaning the stalk of a plant, a cabbage
Cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne of the Family Brassicaceae and is a leafy green vegetable...

 stalk or a cabbage.

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
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was the ruler of all Wales from 1055 until his death, the only Welsh monarch able to make this boast...

 and a pot of cawl. Gruffydd's father Llywelyn ap Seisyll
Llywelyn ap Seisyll
Llywelyn ap Seisyll was a King of Gwynedd and of Deheubarth in north-west and south-west Wales, also called King of the Britons by the Annals of Ulster. Also called Llywelyn ap Seisyllt- Lineage :...

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.


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.