The temperature has dropped by 10 to 15 degrees over the past two days and there’s a cold wind blowing from the mountains to the north. It seemed like a good day to turn to winter food and a substantial warming soup for lunch. This is loosely based on the Welsh dish cawl. The Ceredigion version of cawl, as enjoyed by past generations of my family on subsistence smallholdings where they kept a pig and grew their own potatoes, leeks and carrots in the field, is made with a bacon or lamb joint (in richer, lowland areas of Wales beef is used too), leeks, onions, carrots and potatoes. I used what I found in the kitchen cupboard and the village shop this morning:
I cooked a sliced onion in olive oil until it softened, then added 300 grams of sautée de veau (braising veal), a thick slice of poitrine salée (you could use a couple of thick slices of salty bacon), a sliced leek, a few potatoes cut into chunks, a cupful of green lentils (like Puy lentils, but these are grown locally), four cloves of garlic, roughly chopped, a few bay leaves and sprigs of thyme, and a chopped piment d’Espelette. I covered them all with a cupful of white wine and some water, added a little salt and simmered for about an hour. I didn’t add very much salt because I didn’t know how salty the poitrine would be – it’s best to add salt to taste once it’s cooked.
It was very warming! And, of course, some of the warmth came from the accompanying glass of red wine which wouldn’t be found with the traditional Ceredigion version!