Posted by: briellethefirst | March 14, 2015

Cawl


Yum!

Yum!

Happy St. David’s Day! It’s a Welsh holiday, I’m part Welsh, so any excuse for a party, right? To celebrate I made Cawl today. It’s pronounced kaul. I looked it up in Wikipedia. It’s made from salt-bacon or beef or lamb, potatoes, swedes (rutabagas or turnips), carrots and other seasonal vegetables. I had (most) of the ingredients, so here’s my first crack at it.

So. Start by pulling an onion or 2 (depending on how big they are), a couple of carrots (again, size…I used 3 small to medium ones) and digging some potatoes from the garden. Don’t have any in your garden!? Quick, run to the store…I’ll wait. So, while they’re running to the store let’s talk about why the rest of you don’t have any garden at all…(raises eyebrow, taps foot, shakes finger)…since you can grow stuff in pots made from old cans, juice bottles and other random things and set them in windows or balconies or under grow-lights and there are strategies to avoid watering daily…well…that’s another post, anyway. OK, they’re back…scolding averted.

knob of bacon fat

knob of bacon fat

So, pull your bacon fat out of the fridge and scoop a knob (about a generous Tbsp) into a 2 qt pot. What, you didn’t save your bacon fat!? OK, just take a couple of strips of bacon and cook them in the pot until they’ve rendered enough fat to sauté a chopped onion over medium heat. Next time get a lb of bacon, lay the strips in 1 or more pans, cook it in the oven until done as much as you like. Pour the oil off into a bowl to cool, drain the slices on a paper towel and when they are cool put the bacon in a container and freeze it and put the fat in another container in the fridge. It’ll keep a very long time! And you’ll be ready to make cooking that smells of camping and proper breakfasts anytime you want.

This is also the point where you’ll want to add meat cut to stew-sized bits. Beef, pork, lamb are best (if you can afford them) and even chicken, turkey or duck or other birds (if you hunt…OK, city kids don’t hunt much, so stick with what’s available at the store and within your budget)

Saute onions

Saute onions

So, back to the soup. Once the chopped onions are starting to nicely brown (I assumed you figured out that’s what you should do once the fat melts/renders and the onions got chopped) you’ll notice that brown bits are starting to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Fond

Fond

DON’T PANIC! This is a good thing and it’s part of the flavour growth pattern. Just don’t let it get too dark. Have a cup of water, or preferably beer (a nice ale or even stout) or wine or even broth. This will help you lift the fond off the bottom of the pan. It’s called de-glazing and it gets more flavour into the soup as well as making cleaning up easier (no burnt bits on the bottom).

Adding bacon

Adding bacon

If you had to fry some bacon to start with, skip to the next step. If you thought ahead and have bacon in your freezer, add 2 strips. Now add some wine and stir the fond off the bottom of the pan.

Time for the veg.

carrots!

carrots!

Peel and chop a Swede (turnip or rutabaga) and add it. Now cut the tops off the carrots and give them to your chickens. What? No chickens!!? What am I going to do with you!? Well, at least put them in your compost heap or (if the stubs are big enough) re-plant the stubs and try to grow new carrots…after you’re done cooking! Wash the carrots, chop them and add to the pan, pouring in enough water to cover the carrots.

Potatoes!

Potatoes!

Now wash and chop the potatoes and add to the pan, with enough water to cover them, too. Add a few Tbsp of barley (optional), pepper and parsley. You can add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce, too, if you like. Simmer until everything is tender.

Serve with buttered bread. Pumpernickel is marvelous, as is sourdough, rye, good whole wheat, soda bread, scones, biscuits…really, this is poor folk food, so make a feast of what you have. A glass of beer or wine is nice if you have it and a nice salad on the side with shortbread or strawberries and cream for desert would be nice, too.

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