Considered an Irish comfort food, there is no universal recipe for Dublin coddle. In essence, it is simply a boiled dish that makes use of pieces of rashers and sausages.
What are rashers? By definition, rasher means thinly sliced ham or bacon. In Ireland, it refers to bacon — fatty back bacon because you need the fat to flavor the cooking liquid.
It’s really a humble dish with humble beginnings. This stew has been described as “the fuel of the proletariat, the lifeblood of the common man — and a heart attack in a bowl” but I wouldn’t pay attention to the last part of the quoted phrase. Heart attacks are caused by stressful living, not food.
Why is it called coddle? Irish Central says, “The name ‘Coddle’ is most likely descended from caudle, which comes from the French term meaning ‘to boil gently, parboil or stew’.”
But why it is a humble dish? Story has it that it probably originated from the attempt of a frugal Irish wife to use bits and pieces of meat and cook them into a meal. Today, it is still traditional to serve Dublin coddle with soda bread and Guinness on the side. Was that how we served it? No, this is Asia — we paired our Dublin coddle with rice.
To cook Dublin coddle, start by browning pork sausage and bacon. They are both fatty so there is no need for extra oil in the pan. Just leave them there and they will both render fat. Then, you add sliced onion and cook, tossing the meats with the onion slices, until the latter starts to turn translucent.
Then, you add your potatoes, pour in a cup of water and let everything cook together until most of the liquid has dried up. By that time, the potatoes have soaked up the flavors of both the bacon and sausages.
Baby (pearl) potatoes are used here because they require less preparation. The skin is so thin there really is no reason to peel. There’s less cutting too because all you need to do is halve them and the baby potatoes are ready to go into the pot.
And, yes, you only need a cup of water. The idea is to let the potatoes cook in steam. If you use plenty of liquid, your Dublin coddle will be soupy by the time the potatoes are done. So, use just enough water to allow the potatoes to get cooked through.
- Heat a heavy pot and spread the sausages and bacon in it. Leave until the meats start rendering fat then cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown.
- Add the sliced onion, stir, and cook until softened a bit.
- Throw in the potatoes, pour in a cup of water (sprinkle in salt, optionally) and leave to boil.
- Cover the pot tightly, set the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are done and there's very little liquid left in the pot.