This page may contain affiliate links. So, I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about a leek stew recipe for the Welsh classic stew called Cawl Cennin!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
In this book, the author Mimi Sheraton lists her choices for the 1,000 Foods of the World that you MUST try.
Welsh Cawl Cennin is #40 (along with Scottish Cock-a-Leekie soup) in my project! This delicious stew originated from Wales, and is also called "Leek Broth". In addition to leeks, this dish also includes carrots, potatoes, cabbage, chicken broth, oats, and bacon.
"Cawl" refers to Welsh stews, and many claim that Cawl is Wales' National Dish!
The Leek and St. David's Day
The leek is Wales' national vegetable and symbol, and St. David is the patron saint of Wales. St. David's Day falls on March 1, and on this day the Welsh typically serve dishes made with leeks.
So, Cawl Cennin is the PERFECT DISH to enjoy on St. David's Day!
I will go one step further though...I also think this cawl is perfect for any time of the year! This leek stew recipe is easy to make, delicious, and warms the body and soul.
My Delicious Version of Cawl Cennin!
I have read that there are many versions and variations of this stew. After my research I came up with a version for Welsh Cawl using only a handful of ingredients that is absolutely delicious!
This easy leek stew recipe will give you a delicious stew which your whole family will love!
The ingredients you will need for this cawl are:
- Potato (I used russet potatoes, but you could sub gold potatoes)
- Chicken Broth or chicken stock (can sub vegetable broth or vegetable stock)
- Oatmeal (to thicken the soup)
- Bay leaves (optional)
- Salt and black pepper as seasoning
- Italian parsley as garnish (fresh herbs are wonderful to elevate a dish!); can also consider adding sliced green onions or fresh chives as well
A Few Notes On Some Of The Ingredients
Here are a few notes on some of the ingredients:
Leeks typically have a lot of dirt in them! You'll need to be sure to clean leeks well before use. In this recipe we are only using the bottom white parts and light green parts (on the stalk) of the leek, which are more tender than the top dark green parts.
The best way to clean them is to slice the leek lengthwise but keep the layers together (don't slice all the way through). Once it's open like this, it makes it easier to rinse the leek clean of all dirt. After cleaning the leek cut across widthwise or chop them for use in the stew.
Try to select leeks that are younger (smaller and slimmer) than large leeks for your stew. The younger leeks generally are more tender than the larger and tougher older leeks.
Oatmeal is used as a thickener in this stew. At first I thought it was strange, as I had never used oatmeal for anything other than breakfast or cookies! However, the oatmeal worked really well! You will add this for the last 5 minutes or so (or for however long your package directions tell you).
A Quick Summary of the Method To Make This Leek Stew Recipe
This delicious Cawl Cennin really couldn't be easier to make! There is a bit of prep involved slicing and dicing the vegetables, but that truly is the hardest part. I would say cooking time for everything is around 45 minutes or so and prep let's say 15 minutes. So let's give it 1 hr until you have a most delicious stew ready to serve your family!
Here is a quick summary of the method to make this cawl:
- Fry bacon on a medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven until it is browned but NOT super crispy! Drain most of the bacon fat but leave some of it as the fat helps to give this dish INCREDIBLE flavor!
- Add diced potatoes, carrot, and cabbage to the bacon and stir. If using a bay leaf or leaves, then add this ingredient at this time.
- Add chicken stock or broth and after bringing to the boil allow to simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes. Then add sliced or chopped leeks and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, adding oatmeal the last 5 minutes of cooking time (or whatever time your package directions tell you). Season with salt and pepper, then garnish with fresh parsley!
- Transfer soup into your favorite stew or soup bowls and prepare for this hearty stew to warm your body and soul!
Please note that this recipe calls for 6 cups of broth which will result in a thick leek stew. If you prefer a thinner stew, increase the amount of broth to your liking.
The full recipe for this easy stew can be found in the recipe card below.
Enjoy A Delicious Bowl Of Cawl Cennin!
The end result of your efforts will be this SUPREMELY HEARTY AND DELICIOUS CAWL! This is SUPERB served with some crusty bread!
Honestly, I think this is one of the best stews I've ever made. I'm really in love with it, and can't wait to make it again soon!
I truly hope you will try this dish! If so, please comment below and let me know your thoughts on it!
Enjoy this delicious taste of Wales!!
You can make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. Use a couple of tablespoon of olive oil instead of bacon fat to saute the diced potato, carrot, and cabbage in Step 2 of the Instructions in the recipe card.
You can make this cawl more creamy by adding a touch of heavy cream at the end of cooking (after adding the oatmeal). Feel free to also use an immersion blender or transfer some of the stew to an upright blender when the stew is finished to obtain a smoother texture and get your desired consistency.
Store Cawl Cennin in an airtight container and place it in your refrigerator. This is best consumed within 3-4 days.
I recommend adding a small amount (or large!) of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to up the heat level on this stew!
Some Other Recipes You May Enjoy!
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Welsh Cawl Cennin
- Large stock pot Dutch oven would also work well
- ½ lb bacon diced
- 1 large potato peeled and diced; (I used russet potatoes, but you could sub gold potatoes)
- 2-3 cups cabbage chopped into small pieces
- 2 med sized carrots peeled, and cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 small leeks or 1-2 large leeks; you will use the white part and tender light green parts on the stalk only; clean and slice into small circular pieces (cut across the width) or chop
- 6 cups chicken broth can sub vegetable broth or vegetable stock
- ¾ cup oats
- salt season to taste
- pepper season to taste
- Italian or curly parsley as garnish; can also consider adding sliced green onions or fresh chives as well
- 1-2 bay leaves optional
- Heat up a large stockpot or Dutch oven on medium high, and add diced bacon. Fry until browned but just shy of crispy. This took me around 7-10 minutes. Drain all but about 2-3 tablespoon of the bacon fat off.
- Add the diced potato, carrot, and cabbage. Stir for 2-3 minutes in the bacon fat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. If using a bay leaf or leaves, then add this ingredient at this time.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a medium heat, and simmer with the lid on for around 15 minutes.
- Add the sliced or chopped leeks (white part and tender green parts from the stalk only), stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in oatmeal for the last 5 minutes of cooking, or however long your package directions indicate cooking time for the oatmeal.
- Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.