Dublin Coddle is Irish comfort food at its best

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I put together a great Irish recipe that also is affordable and easy to make. 

Coddle is a traditional Irish dish usually associated with Dublin – it also is known as Dublin Coddle. It is comfort food of the highest degree; a hearty, nutritious, stew-like dish made from salty bacon, pork sausages and potatoes.

This traditional supper dish of sausages, bacon, onions and potatoes dates at least to the early 18th century. It seems it was more of a city dish than a rural one. In Dublin, coddle retains its reputation as a dish that can be prepared ahead of time and left in a very low oven when people have to be out of the house for a while, making it an excellent dish for busy people. 

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.” This recipe also would work excellently in a crock-pot. Just reduce the liquid by about half if cooking the coddle this way. There are as many recipes for Dublin Coddle as there are bars in the city. I have made a few adjustments to mine, such as using turkey sausage instead of pork, to make it a healthier meal.

Dublin Coddle

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

4 ounces thick bacon

1 package turkey sausage

2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced

8 ounces white organic potatoes, finely sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup rich beef stock

1 cup apple juice

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the oil, add the onions and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Cut the bacon pieces into small squares. Add the bacon to the onions and stir well. Cut the sausages in 2-inch pieces and add these to the onion and bacon.  

Raise the heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the sausages start to brown, taking care not to burn the onions.  

In a casserole dish, place a layer of the onion, bacon and sausage mixture followed by the layer of sliced carrots and a layer of potato. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat the layering until used up, finishing with a layer of potato.  

Carefully cover the ingredients with the stock and juice. Cover with a lid or a double layer of aluminium foil.

Place in the center of the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Take a peek to make sure the coddle isn’t drying out. If necessary, top with a little boiling water, but don’t flood the stew. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F. and cook for another 30 minutes until the casserole is bubbling and the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Irish soda bread to soak up all the lovely juices.

• Chef Debi Stuckwisch is the owner of Meals Like Mom’s Personal Chef service in McHenry County. She can be reached at 847-778-9351 or mealslikemoms@comcast.net, or visit www.mealslikemom.com.