It's all about the ... Coddle !
Years ago, in what seems to be a different lifetime these days, I used to have an annual St. Patricks day party where I would cook a mountain of food and desserts for friends and colleagues and two football teams ! (I think the most we had turn up was around fifty five) The event became known as "a tradition beyond reproach", mostly by me but that's what we shall call it now ... and I shall always remember it fondly and the many guests who turned up to each one ... however as I was living in Luxembourg and amongst a population of expats it meant that it was quite transient and the tradition eventually went on "hiatus" after four or five occasions due to dwindling numbers and the fact I left for a spell in Norway, maybe it's time to resurrect it again ??? On each of those occasions I would enlist the help of some very loyal and patient friends for the peeling of vegetable after vegetable ... after vegetable and to be ordered around for the day! The reward ... the craic and the first taste of the coddle ... it was all about the coddle ... fresh bread dipped in the final thickened stock ... heaven!
As today March 17th is St. Patricks day I felt a patriotic duty to post a dish of Ireland but not only an Irish dish, a Dublin dish ... often known as "Dublin Coddle" or just plain old "Coddle". As with most Irish dishes it originated as a peasant dish in the days when the people of Dublin couldn't afford the best cuts of meat or many vegetables so they would buy the cheapest cuts of bacon and cheap sausages and cook them in a water flavoured with onion and herbs.
There are many different versions of coddle, some say a true Dublin Coddle shouldn't have carrots ... some say you only use parsley as a herb ... well I grew up with Coddle made by a daughter of Roscommon who made Dublin her home and she used carrots, so I will stand by that direction and tradition in my family (you see mother I do listen to you sometimes!!) ... not only that but I have chosen to brown the sausages first to add some colour and hopefully give the final dish a richer flavour (my first time doing this as the dish is being cooked for some of those poor unfortunates who can't call themselves Irish, especially on St. Patricks Day :) ... and i don't think giving them a dish with boiled chunks of sausage that resemble mini ...... is a good idea ) I have also added a Luxembourg twist to my version of the dish and added a bottle of Luxembourgish white wine ... how does that suit you purists !!! Hang me now !
The recipe I used is from my head but I did search for it amongst my collection and found it in "Elegant Irish Cooking: Hundreds of Recipes from the World's Foremost Irish Chefs" ... however when I saw what they included or didn't include, I went back to my own version and back into my own big head !
Note: I would recommend cooking this the night before as the sausages and rashers release a lot of fat and you can remove a lot of it the next morning if you let it cool overnight!
Also remember this dish isn't going to look "pretty" for you ... but it will be tasty!
To Buy book ... click on photos to go to my amazon link
The Recipe ...
The Book (1) ... The Recipe ...
Elegant Irish Cooking (published by Lebhar-Friedman Books) by Noel C. Cullen
12 good quality pork sausages (Irish recipe if possible)
12 slices of streaky Irish bacon
2 medium onions quartered (and seperated)
8-10 small potatoes cut into chunks (quartered) (peeled (optional) and washed)
4 or 5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
500 ml Chicken Stock
500 ml White wine (semi dry or dry)
Few Springs of thyme
2 bay leaves
handful of chopped parsley
(salt to taste after almost cooked)
What to do ...
- Brown off the sausages quickly in a hot cast iron pan with a little olive oil
- Once lightly browned, remove and drain on kitchen roll
- Chop the browned sausages & bacon and place in a large saucepan
- Add the onions, carrots, potatoes and herbs and season with pepper
- Cover with the stock and wine (top with water if not completely covered)
- Bring to the boil then turn down to a medium high heat and cover.
- After about 30 minutes I will transfer to a preheated over (150C)
- Cook in the oven for about 2.5 - 3 hours.
- Serve straight away or leave overnight (to remove fat next morning)
- Eat and Enjoy
Hint : serve with some fresh country bread (with butter of course) or some of the Irish Oat soda bread I posted previously!