Monday, February 24, 2020

Dublin Coddle

Have you ever heard of a Dublin Coddle?
I must say that I had never heard of it until recently, but of course I knew that I would love it as soon as I read what goes in it. Sausages, potatoes, onions, bacon... clearly this goes in the "how can this not be good?" category, am I right? So then I started reading up on it. From what I've read, it's traditionally made by placing bacon, sausages, potatoes, and onions in a pot, covering everything with water and then boiling the hell out of it. No browning, no anything. Just boil or simmer everything for a long long LONG time and then add parsley at the end. I watched video after video, and read article after article. And everyone was very adamant that you should NOT brown anything. Apparently it's not a true Dublin Coddle if you brown everything first. Hmm.. that makes it look a little bit anemic if you ask me. In one of the videos, the cook said "it won't win any beauty contests, but it tastes delicious."
 Well, I think we can do better than that. So I decided to brown the meat, add some fresh herbs, and cook it with chicken broth instead of water. The result was HEAVENLY. It was so hearty and delicious and comforting that this is now my go-to recipe. (Side note, I did see a few videos where the cook added a few other things, carrots and turnips, etc, but I decided to stay true to the original, even if I was switching up the cooking method).
 So my next question was where does the name come from? My first thought was because it's such a comfort food, and then I read this excerpt from an article:
 "The name of the dish is probably descended from the older word caudle, derived from a French word meaning "to boil gently, parboil, or stew". The more recent version of the verb, "coddle," is still applied to gently cooked eggs; and in the case of Dublin coddle, it's become a noun, applied to a dish that is cooked very slowly at low temperatures.
In Dublin itself, coddle retains its reputation as a dish that can be prepared ahead of time and left in a very slow oven while the people who're going to eat it have to be out of the house for a while -- in particular, at a funeral: when everyone returns for the wake, the dish will be ready, and won't have suffered from being left in the oven a little longer than planned."
 I also read another article that said instead of a funeral, the "being out of the house for a while" refers to being out all night at the pub, and that this was a great meal after one had been out drinking all night. It also said that this was a great way to use up leftovers, so there's no one specific recipe. Everyone makes their own version of it, depending on what foods they had on hand.
 So there we have it. A Dublin Coddle. Who knew? The MOST important thing you should take from this is that it's OMG DELICIOUS. This could be your next St Patrick's Day dinner instead of doing ham or corned beef and cabbage. OOOOH! some boiled or sauteed cabbage would go great with this! I think I need to make this again, just to be sure.
I hope you'll give it a try!

3-4 pounds red potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 pound pork sausages (Irish Bangers, if you can get them)
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 qt chicken broth
Large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with cotton twine
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
 In a large wide heavy pot with a tight lid, add the slices of bacon. Cook them over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is slightly browned. Remove to a plate, set aside. Cook sausages in bacon fat. Try not to disturb them too much so that they get nice and brown. Remove to side plate with bacon. Add onions. Saute until they begin to soften. Add a little of the chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up all the brown bits. Add potatoes to the pot. Place sausages and bacon back into the pot, along with the rest of the chicken broth, the thyme bundle, black pepper, and a big handful of parsley. Cover with lid and place in oven for 2-3 hours.
 Before serving, be sure to remove and discard the thyme bundle. Taste and adjust the seasoning with Kosher salt and black pepper, if needed. Garnish with some more fresh parsley over the top.
Btw, Guinness goes extremely well with this dish (adding a little to the pot toward the end of the process wouldn't hurt anything either!) Another good accompaniment is fresh Irish Soda Bread.

If you can't find Irish Bangers, Johnsonville Brats are a good substitute. You could even use breakfast sausages. But definitely not Italian Sausage. I mean, I guess you could, but your final product would have a very different flavor.
I like to use red potatoes for this because they hold together very well. I didn't even peel mine. Why? Because I didn't feel like it. LOL But you do you.
If you want to thicken the broth into a more substantial gravy, just add a slurry of a couple tbs flour in a half cup of cold water. Stir it to the dish, and let it continue to cook until the gravy thickens. Personally, I didn't mind it being more of a broth than a gravy. It was SO flavorful, I just couldn't stop eating it!

No comments: