Recipe for Dublin Coddle
This recipe for Dublin coddle shows again the flexible nature of many Irish dishes. We may well be shot for saying so, but it’s a kind of a ‘makey-uppy’ Irish dinner recipe, aimed at using up whatever you have on hand. The mainstays are: sausages, bacon, potatoes and onions.
As you can see from this list of hard hitting ingredients, it’s also another of those one-pot Irish dishes eaten with the intention of ensuring that you remain upright. Come wind or rain, Irish potatoes and pork are sure to see you right, prop you up proper.
Irish dinner for Dublin’s poor
One look at the recipe for Dublin coddle (sometimes called Irish coddle) and you’ll also see that it’s effectively a stew. A poor man’s stew. With the more affordable bacon featuring alongside Irish potatoes and whatever else is on hand.
This traditional Irish dinner emerged as a Dublin favorite because of the large concentration of poor in the capital. With neither money to buy beef/mutton/lamb, nor any livestock to their name, Dublin’s working class found other ways of getting their fix of stewed dead beings.
City butchers would cater to their less well-heeled clients by selling the bits of meat left over from more sumptuous cuts of bacon; the ends trimmed from a joint or odd scraps. These miscellaneous pieces of pork formed the backbone of the traditional Dublin coddle recipe.
Recipe for Dublin coddle causes uproar
Dublin Coddle has been around a long time, so just as with Irish potato soup, what should be (allowed) into your pot is a common flashpoint. But then again, if the Irish didn’t have something to rile each other about they’d surely lose their gift of gab. So don’t take it too seriously, perhaps it’s just to keep their tongues in shape. Old timers berate young ones for fowling the “real” recipe for Dublin coddle, young ones turn into old timers and aim the berating in a different direction. Humans go on eating Dublin coddle.
Garlic and carrots were typically the main culprits to strict traditionalists, but these days flour and apple cider seem to be taking the flack. It has been commonplace to add porter beer into the mix, too, or pearl barley – to give it a bit of extra depth.
If the food fascism does get out of hand drop us a line, we’ll do an Irish apple cake parlor game-style guide to not stabbing your mother-in-law with the carrot she’s just pulled out of the pot.
There was also once a time when you’d be assassinated on sight for frying the sausages and bacon before putting them in. Alas, with the demise of corporal punishment for kitchen offences, our times bear witness to a great deal more (serious) infringements.
But since it is hearty comfort food after all, who is to judge what you find comfort in? We’ve broken one of the stauncher rules and given the bacon products a quick fry, simply to help the aesthetics. ‘White coddle’ gives us flashbacks to some of the heavier scenes in The Butcher Boy.
This recipe for Dublin coddle also tips its hat to the stout Irish, indulging a drop of that dark obsession haunting Erin’s Isle. Some find cooking with dark Irish beer gives too much of a bitter note, though. So if you’re in that camp, don’t use the most popular beer in Ireland, Guinness, but some other porter beer. One with a sweeter edge. Alcohol-free beer also works and this is actually what we’ve opted for in this recipe. After all, it’s not the Irish alcohol you’re after anyway…it’ll evaporate!
The porter beer is the only borderline non-kosher addition to our Dublin coddle recipe. Apart from that, its the straight-up traditional coddle of the capital and shouldn’t ignite any points of contention. This traditional Irish dinner was also whipped up as it would have been back in the day, on the stove. So that ought to soothe potential naysayers, too.
Making Dublin coddle
Other ingredients may vary, but pig is integral to any recipe for Dublin coddle. We started by Adding a little Olive Oil to a Frying Pan, then briefly Frying some fine Irish Sausages. No need to cook them through, remove them once they’ve taken on a bit of color. Set the sausages aside, but Leave the Grease on the pan.
Then we did the same color-me-in trick with some Irish Bacon, Frying the Rashers in the leftover fat. If you can get your hands on them, try to use Irish rashers. If you can’t source them, opt for whatever thick-cut rashers you can find; streaky work, but break up more in the pot.
You’ll need to Cut the Bacon into Smaller Pieces. Not too small though, three or four parts per rasher will do. Some cut up the sausage, too, but it’s not necessary. And keeping them whole will ensure your Irish dinner retains a delightful hint of the Freudian about it. After a small number of minutes, three (3) or four (4), say, Remove the Bacon, again leaving the accumulated fat in the pan.
[If you’re doing a white coddle, skip the pork coloring session.]
Now Slice the Onions, not too fine, and Fry them in the Bacon Fat [or Butter/Olive Oil, if you’re doing a white coddle] over Medium Heat for 10 minutes. They ought to become nice and translucent. Once the onions are done, Plop them into a Stewing Pot along with the Sausages and Bacon.
Roughly Chop the Parsley and Set aside a little for garnishing. Then Add the Parsley and the sprig of Fresh Thyme to your Pot, pulling the thyme leaves from the stem. Grind some Black Pepper in, too.
No need to add salt, the Bacon has already done that job for you!
Make 1 cup of stock with hot Water and add it to the pot. Half a stock cube will suffice, as the salt level is already pretty high. Chicken does a nice neutral job in the stock department, although beef stock is used in the ‘brown coddle’ variant of this dish.
Irish soup option
Now take a furtive look over your shoulder, lest there be any food fascists in the vicinity. Is the coast clear? Then Add a small bottle of Porter Beer to the stewing pot. Guinness or any Irish dark beer you choose. You can segue into an Irish soup here, if you care to add a little more stout – or another 2 cups of stock. Dublin coddle soup can these days be seen in chic spots across the Irish capital – out with the begrimed tenement, in with the trendy bistro, keep the soup.
All your ingrediential pals in the pot, Bring it to a Simmer and then Reduce the heat, so that only a small simmer caresses those lounging inside. Old recipes for Dublin coddle often advised you to leave the pot simmering as long as you could (prevent it from being gobbled up), but 1 hour is already enough to bring the ingredients together. But if you have longer, leave it longer.
Irish potatoes, the finishing touch
While the stewing pot is doing its thing, get to peeling your Irish potatoes. For what would be a traditional dish from Ireland without potatoes from Ireland? If you’re worried about your local potatoes not being Irish enough, use them anyway, we’ll give you a pass. This time.
Squint or try to Mist up your pupils as you Peel those beautiful spuds. Seeing in your mind’s eye what potatoes in Ireland meant to the destitute peasant farmer of bygone centuries. Chop your newly appreciated Irish potatoes into decent-sized nuggets, anything over an inch in diameter will do.
Add the spuds to the Pot and leave to simmer for another 30 minutes, until they’re fork tender. Garnish with Parsley and Serve in Soup Plates.
Ingredients for Dublin Coddle
- 2 1/2 lb (1.15 kg) Potatoes
- 1 lb (450 g) Thick-cut Bacon Rashers, cut into pieces
- 1 lb (450 g) Pork Sausages
- 2 medium Onions (approx. 1 lb/450 g), sliced
- 1 small bottle of Porter Beer (11 oz/330 ml)
- 1 cup (240 ml) Stock [or 3 cups/700 ml for Dublin coddle soup]
- 1 oz (30 g) Parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 sprig Fresh Thyme
- 1 tsp Olive Oil [or 1 Knob Butter]
- Black Pepper to taste
- Fry Sausages on a lubricated Frying Pan over Medium Heat for no up to 5 minutes (until they’re a little brown). Leave the fat on the pan.
- Fry Bacon in the leftover fat for 3-4 minutes. Leave the fat behind.
- Slice Onion into rings and Fry in the accumulated fat.
- Roughly Chop Parsley and Pull leaves from the Sprig of Thyme.
- Place all ingredients in Stewing Pot, Adding 1 cup Stock and 1 bottle porter beer. [Increase the liquid by 2 cups to make Dublin coddle soup.] Bring to a Boisterous Simmer.
- Reduce to a Small Simmer and leave for at least 1 hour.
- Peel and Chop Potatoes, Add to Pot and leave to simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Garnish with Parsley. Serve hot, hot, hot. In Soup Plates.