Dublin Coddle is an Irish one-pot meal of tender potatoes, sausage and onions, slow cooked in broth to create a rich, filling stew, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any cold, rainy weeknight.
Confession time: even though I’m predominantly Irish (and I have the DNA results to prove it!), I cannot cook corned beef and cabbage to save my life. I like to eat it but I definitely cannot make it. In our first year of marriage, I thought it would be fun to have corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day dinner and screwed it up so badly that we ended up scrapping the whole thing and walking to our favorite Indian restaurant and having Chicken Tikka Masala instead.
But I really, REALLY wanted to make something Irish to post for St. Patrick’s Day this year! It’s become a bit of a bigger holiday for us since moving to Dublin (California, not Ireland) where there is a St. Patrick’s Day parade and everybody gets school and work off and goes to the big city festival. Our town is way into its Irish heritage. And since getting my DNA results back and learning that I am largely Irish (when all along I thought I was mostly a mix of Scottish and Danish!), I’ve wanted to learn how to make some delicious Irish food!
Since I have never visited the Emerald Isle, I had to let my fingers do the traveling for me. So I googled Irish food, made a list and started working my way through, trying out various traditional Irish dishes like this well-known and loved Dublin Coddle (and a delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding that, while known for being British, is also served for dessert in Ireland and is coming your way soon on the blog!).
While researching Dublin Coddle I found a number of interesting stories about it (whether true or not, I really can’t say). One is that it was made by Irish women on nights when their husbands would visit the pubs since it can be left simmering on the stove and stay warm so the men would have something decent to eat when they got home and the women could go to bed. Another theory I saw said that this is a dish you only find in Dublin and not throughout the rest of Ireland because unlike it’s counterpart, Irish Stew, which uses mutton, Dublin Coddle uses sausages (bangers) which were more readily available and more affordable in the city than mutton which was found more in the rural parts of the country. Regardless, this seems to be a hearty working class dish with humble, common origins.
I looked at a dozen or more recipes for Dublin Coddle and realized that the traditional approach is pretty well established as simple layers of thickly cut potatoes and onions with bangers (Irish sausages) and bacon, seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley, and slow cooked for a few hours in broth until the potatoes are super tender (but not falling apart or mushy) and the flavors meld into a rich, hearty stew that is the epitome of Irish comfort food. Some people throw in carrots or leeks or use Guinness, some cut the sausages into pieces while others cook them whole, some thicken the broth while others do not, and so on. I stayed as close to what seemed to me to be a traditional approach as I could and all of us, Paul and the girls included, really enjoyed the results!
I actually found an Irish deli/grocer in San Francisco (one of the perks of living close to a major international city) and was planning a trip into the city to pick up some bangers when I noticed in my local supermarket that there were bangers right there next to the bratwurst and kielbasa! While I’m guessing they aren’t the most authentic bangers in existence, they certainly were delicious and their flavor profile definitely differs from most of the sausages I am more familiar with (um, like bratwurst and kielbasa). Try to find bangers if you can, but if you can’t, the texture was a bit more tender than bratwurst or kielbasa and the spices used were closer to those of a country breakfast sausage (but not breakfast links). It’s a bit difficult to describe, but hopefully you can find bangers as easily as I did and you will see what I mean. If you can’t find them anywhere, you could honestly use any pork sausage as a replacement and it would be a delicious dinner, it just wouldn’t truly taste like a Dublin Coddle.
Ladle portions of the coddle into bowls and serve with crusty bread for sopping up the rich sauce! Don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to roll around to try out this wonderful Irish dish!
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