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Welsh Cawl Simple Lamb Soup

Welsh Cawl is an easy lamb and vegetable soup or stew, simply cooked with clean & simple flavours, my version scales the dish down to feed 4.

Swede, carrot, potatoes and leek sit alongside some gently simmered lamb shoulder in this wonderful broth-based soup that tastes wonderful.

Welsh cawl, a lamb and vegetable broth based soup in a white bowl.

Lamb Cawl

Britain’s reputation for being a soggy grey island is often overstated but its love of simple hearty soups and stews is most certainly not.

Welsh cawl is similar in many ways to a host of other British stews and soups.

It bears more than a passing resemblance to scouse which was the influence for my lamb neck stew, and also hotch potch, Scotch broth and cock a leekie soup.

Essentially it is a series of ingredients gently cooked in stock to create a brothy soup. If you want a lamb soup with more “pazzazz” check out my Hungarian lamb goulash or Lebanese-influenced fasolia!

Traditional Welsh cawl would have featured something like an on the bone neck joint or shoulder simmered slowly for hours.

The broth would have been cooled overnight and the fat removed and meat stripped on day two. A very similar technique to the one I use for my oxtail soup recipe.

The meat and vegetables would then be simmered in the stock and eaten throughout the week.

My version is designed to be a little smaller and will feed two for dinner with a perfect amount of leftovers for lunch the day after.

If meaty brothy soups are your thing check out my take on a Russian beef borscht soup!

Close up Welsh cawl, a lamb and vegetable broth based soup in a white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Swede?

Hold on to your hats, if you are from the US you will know this as Rutabaga. If you are from Scotland and other parts of Northern England you are likely swearing at me for not referring it to a neep or turnip.

It is brassica napus, or Swedish Turnip. The name rutabaga stems from the Swedish name rotabagge, so we are all correct!

Can I use another cut of lamb?

Yes, but it does need to have some fat, the best alternative cut would be some lamb neck fillet.

I can’t find lamb stock, can I use something else?

I feel your pain, living outside of the UK for 13 years I know just how difficult lamb stock can be to buy.

If you want to use something else then use some good quality vegetable stock. Both beef and chicken stock have far too strong a flavour of another meat and that does not reflect well on the dish.

Close up Welsh cawl, a lamb and vegetable broth based soup served with bread and cheese.

Serving Suggestions

The serving suggestion for this dish may involve a little trust, but go with it, it is pure genius!

Welsh lamb cawl is traditionally served with crusty bread and a chunk of cheese. Yes, cheese!

I like a nice crusty cob! Yes, us Brits do have more words for a bread roll than Eskimos do for snow.

Then the cheese. It seems like an odd side but there is something that happens when combined with the lamb stock that works so well.

The acidity of the cheese bounces off the rich fattiness of the lamb and amplifies the flavour and sweetness of the vegetables.

You need the right cheese though!

Traditionally a crumbly Caerphilly cheese is served with cawl. I use a similarly crumbly and acidic Lancashire cheese and it is equally magical.

Welsh cawl, lamb and vegetable broth based soup with potatoes, leek, carrot and swede.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan with a lid.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Vegetable peeler.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
Welsh cawl, lamb and vegetable broth based soup with potatoes, leek, carrot and swede.
Yield: 4 Servings

Welsh Cawl Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Welsh lamb cawl, a traditional simple welsh dish comprising lamb, carrots, potatoes, swede and leek in a brothy soup.


  • 300g (10oz) Lamb Shoulder
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • 25g Butter
  • 100g Onion
  • 150g (1 Cup) Carrot
  • 150g (1 Cup) Swede
  • 150g (1 Cup) Baby New Potatoes
  • 750ml (3 Cups) Lamb Stock
  • 1 Small (1-2 Cups) Leek


  1. Chop the lamb into a 2.5cm (1") dice.
  2. Cut the onion into a 1.5cm (½-¾") dice.
  3. Peel the carrot and swede and cut them both into a 1cm (½") dice.
  4. If needed cut the potatoes into a 2-2.5cm (¾") dice
  5. Heat a medium saucepan (20cm or 8") over a medium high heat and when hot add the butter.
  6. When the butter foams season the lamb with the salt and add it to the butter and cook for 3-4 minutes. The idea is to just get the juices flowing and flavour the butter rather than colour the lamb.
  7. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to begin to soften.
  8. Add the potatoes, Swede and carrot then pour over the stock and bring to a boil.
  9. Pop on a lid and reduce the heat so that the soup sits at a gentle simmer, then cook for 60 minutes.
  10. Cut the leek into 0.5-1cm (¼-½") thick coins and add them to the soup and cook for another 20 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 648mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 21g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

thomas rosser

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

hi brian can i cook this in the slow cooker as .

Brian Jones

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Hi Thomas...

This should be fine in the slow cooker, you could cook this on high or low, 2-3 hours on high should do you ok, or 4-5 hours on low. My only worry would be the potatoes, I'm always wary about cooking them in a slow cooker, I've had too many "al dente" potato moments for my liking, particularly with waxy potatoes. Par boiling them for 5-10 minutes should alleviate the problem.




Sunday 24th of October 2021

Where do you get swede in Hungary, Brian?

Brian Jones

Friday 5th of November 2021

They were occasionally available in Lidl and also from the grand market hall in Budapest, I would also grow them in my garden.

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