Yes, it's the 1st of March - St. David's Day. Christopher has been full of excitement for it, having done various activities and crafts at school this week. He even had me on the floor earlier, attempting to make a Welsh dragon out of red building blocks. Not so good, however I was very pleased with my Lego Daffodil!
For our supper tonight there was only one choice. Cawl is peasant food; good food to warm the cockles on the coldest night and has, beyond a doubt, the right to be called Wales' national dish. As it is proper home food, recipes vary hugely - as I found when I picked the brains of the other ladies at our W.I. cawl supper the other night. Opinion is divided between whether cawl should be made with beef or lamb; I've eaten both and lean towards the beef versions (cawl cig eidion), as does one of our near neighbours, who also introduced the notion of the lentils to me.
I like shin of beef best for stewing, but chuck or skirt would do very well too. Replace the beef with lamb, if you fancy a cawl cig oen more
25g beef dripping or other cooking fat
1 onion, peeled and chopped
400g stewing beef (and see above), cubed
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 swede, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
100g split red lentils
knob of butter
3 leeks, sliced
Melt the fat in a large casserole and fry the onion until softened. Brown the meat, then add the chopped vegetables and lentils and turn them in the fat. Pour over 1.2 litres of water and bring to the boil. Scoop out any scum that rises to the top as you can, adding a knob of butter to disperse any that remains. Transfer the pan to a 160c oven and cook for an hour, then add the sliced leeks to the pan and cook for 30 minutes more. Swirl in some roughly chopped fresh parsley just before serving.
The only accompaniment you need is bara menyn (bread and butter) a caws (and cheese), and perhaps (if you feel like going really Welsh) some Bara Brith for pwdin.