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Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle

Potatoes were first domesticated between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago in what is today southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia. Genetic testing has revealed that domesticated potatoes have a single origin in that region. Today, however, over 99% of the potatoes cultivated worldwide descend from varieties originating the in the lowlands of south-central Chile.

Potatoes were the main energy food of the Inca Empire. The Spanish were introduced to the starchy tubers when they conquered the region and they brought the potato back with them to Europe sometime in the late 16th century. Ireland likely received its first potatoes around this time, possibly from Basque fishermen bartering for supplies on their way to the rich waters off the coast of Newfoundland. Potatoes were well-suited for Ireland’s climate and they quickly became a staple crop.

Since the 17th century, a popular use for those potatoes has been the coddle, a flavorful stew made from bacon, sausage, onions, and potatoes. Traditionally, Catholics were encouraged not to eat meat on Fridays and therefore coddles were often made on Thursdays to use up any leftover bacon and sausages from the week. It’s widely considered a comfort food in Ireland and was reputedly a favorite for both Seán O’Casey and Jonathan Swift. The verb to coddle refers to cooking food in liquid heated to just below boiling.

Yield

Serves 4 to 6.

Time to Make

At least an hour, 30 minutes
and up to an hour, 45 minutes

Shopping List

  • 4 medium onions
  • 1 leek
  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 medium russet potatoes (or other starchy potato) or 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 high-quality pork sausages
  • ½ ounce ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces low-sodium chicken broth

Equipment List

  • Dutch oven
  • slotted spoon
  • paper towels
  • heatproof bowl

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  • 4 medium onions
  • 1 leek
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 medium russet potatoes (or other starchy potato) or 4 large russet potatoes

Halve the onions through the root end. For each half onion, remove and discard the top, peel the outer layers, and slice, discarding the root end. Set the onion slices aside. Peel the potatoes, cut each into 4 or 6 (depending on the size of the potato) large chunks, then place in a bowl and cover with cold water. (Covering the potatoes with cold water will prevent them from browning.)

Remove the root end and most, but not all, of the green tops from the leek. Cut the leek in half lengthwise, rinse thoroughly between the layers to remove all dirt, then slice each half. Remove the stems from the parsley and chop coarsely. Peel the garlic cloves and chop finely or press in a garlic press. Combine the leeks, parsley, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.


  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 high-quality pork sausages
  • prepared onion from step 1
  •  
  • Dutch oven
  • slotted spoon
  • paper towels
  • heatproof bowl

Cut the bacon slices into three even sections. Place the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon, separating the slices as you go. Fry the bacon until just beginning to crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Pour out the bacon into a heatproof bowl and set aside.

Return the Dutch oven to the heat and add the sausages. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 15 minutes. If needed, add some of the bacon fat to the pan to prevent the sausages from sticking. Remove the sausages from the the skillet, cut each one into thirds, and set aside.

Return the Dutch oven to the heat and add the onions and just enough bacon fat to sauté. Cook the onions until soft, about 7 minutes.


  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper (adjust amount according to taste)
  • cooked sausages from step 2
  • cooked bacon from step 2
  • leek, herb, and garlic mixture from step 1
  • prepared potatoes from step 1
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Smooth the onions into a layer at the bottom of the Dutch oven and season with pepper. Then add the sausages in a layer and season with pepper. Then add the bacon in a layer and season with pepper. Add the leek, herb, and garlic mixture in a layer. Add the potatoes as the top layer and season liberally with pepper. Finally, pour in the broth.


Cover the pot and bring to a boil on top of the stove. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Serve immediately, ideally with soda bread to mop up the juices.