Dublin Coddle

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”
~William Butler Yeats

I love the name of this dish.  It sounds like a snuggle with an Irish hunk, like that guy from P.S., I Love You; Gerard something-or-other.

Yah, him

I did some research and the recipe I came up with is a conglomerate of suggestions and tweaks, but was closest to one found on Food.com, even though the author lifted the description word for word from a European Cuisines post.  

Coddle is traditionally associated with Dublin and dates back at least to the eighteenth century.  It was apparently a favorite of Jonathan Swift, Sean O’Casey and is mentioned in the works of James Joyce.  Considered comfort food and a convenience dish, it is also inexpensive, easy to make, and can be left on a low stove or warming in the oven for a quite a while without suffering too much.  Sounds like the precurser to crock-pot cooking!  

It is important to use the very best pork sausage you can get your hands on.  It was suggested that good American breakfast sausage could be used, but I opted for my favorite local pork sausage, Orsini’s Sweet Fennel Garlic Italian sausage.  I used hard sparkling cider (Cortland apple) from a local orchard.  The bottle has been in the fridge since the fall and this was a great excuse to pop the cork!

While researching the recipe, I noticed a remark left by a reader  suggested to add a packet of chicken noodle soup mix,  that in addition to the flavor it adds,  the noodles would help thicken the broth.  That made sense to me and since I had some handy, I tossed it in there.  Maybe not eighteenth century authentic, but we all agreed we liked the dish that way.  The broth did in fact thicken up and it plated nicely.  We loved it and I see plenty of Dublin Coddle in our future.  After all, it starts with bacon and ends with hard cider – what’s not to love?  Sláinte!

Sources: A Little Irish Cookbook, Appletree, 1986
Wikipedia and European Cuisines websites.

Dublin Coddle
Adapted from a recipe on Food.com
Serves 4

1/2 pound bacon
1 pound good quality pork sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage)
2 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 large potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 packet Lipton chicken noodle soup mix 
1 small bunch fresh herbs, tied together with string (I used thyme and parsley)
Black pepper
1 bottle hard cider (some for the pot, some for you)
Fresh parsley for garnish
Special equipment:  I large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid

Brown bacon until crisp.  Place in cooking pot.  Brown sausages in bacon fat.  Add to cooking pot.  Sprinkle packet of soup mix over meats.  Add two cups water.  Soften sliced onions in the bacon fat and a minute or two before they’re done, add the garlic and stir around.  Add to cooking pot layering carrots next and then  potatoes.  Add the bundle of herbs and push down into the middle.  Add hard cider just to reach the potatoes (should only be another cup or two).  Sprinkle potatoes with freshly ground black pepper. Cover tightly and bring JUST to a simmer then turn heat down.  It should not boil.  Cook on low like this for 2-3 hours.  Half an hour before you want to eat, check and make sure the carrots are done.  If they aren’t, raise the heat a bit until they are cooked through.  By now, broth should have thickened enough that you can serve this on a plate.  Taste broth right before serving and add salt or pepper, if needed.  Great served with Irish soda bread or spotted dog.

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