Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dublin Coddle

Coddle is a traditional Irish dinner dish that dates back three hundred years. It is a staple meat and potato, one-pot meal. The name of the dish comes from a French word caudle which means to "boil gently or stew." But with the Irish, coddle is about cooking at a low temperature for a long time. Throw it in a pot, in the oven, head to the pub, have some pints, return home hours later for warm meal.

The dish is comprised of simple ingredients: pork sausages, bacon, onions, and potatoes. The only seasonings are salt, pepper, and parsley. Water or a ham stock is added to the pot to braise and stem the ingredients over time, it also creates a gravy.

Irish bacon is different from American bacon. The bacon comes from the back of a pig, not from the pork belly. It is often called back bacon. Mostly the bacon is boiled and does not take on a crispy texture. If you can't obtain Irish bacon, use bacon that is not sweetened by maple or sugar. The best is to use bacon ends or trimmings from the pork belly.

Due to lack of seasonings, spices, I would recommend browning the bacon and pork sausages adding color and additional flavors to the pot.

Instead of using strips of bacon, chop up the bacon ends or get some slab bacon and cut into chunks. Good, quality pork sausage is also important too.

Baking potatoes work well for coddle. Cut them into big chunks as well. I decided to cut my onions into rings. Finely chop the parsley.
Start by browning the bacon ends and then follow with the pork sausages. During this time, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Layer the onions down first then the bacon.
Top the onion and bacon with the pork sausages and then the potatoes. Pour in the 2 cups of boiling water, bring to a boil and then remove from stovetop.

For each new layer, salt/pepper and parsley should be added.
Cover the pot with a heavy lid and chuck it into the oven. Cook for a long time. I choose to cook for three and a half hours.

Oh did the kitchen smell awesome, full of bacon and sausage. I lift that lid and stuck my face in the pot and waifed it all in. Thank you Ireland.

The fat rendered out from the bacon and sausage and potatoes soaked up all of that flavor. The sausage was buttery smooth while the bacon gave the dish a salty, smoky touch. The onions melted down nicely which added to the flavor the broth.

I am not an Irish man but I enjoy a pint of Guinness whenever possible and it washed down the coddle impeccably. I'm glad I chose to not include the Irish soda bread because the meal was quite filling. It would be a great addition to the meal though as the bread could sop up all the juices and gravy.

Those Irish people know how to drink and they know how to eat as well.

1 comment:

  1. You cannot go wrong with those ingredients. I am Irish on St. Patricks day once a year.