I adore the name of this dish. And oh my flippin’ floopie, it is rich and delish! It reminds me of a chilly, rainy day I spent in Dublin many years ago, popping into a pub to warm up a bit with some food and drink. I did not have a coddle, but the feeling was the same. It totally has a comfort food vibe, and is considered such in Ireland. I thought of it with St. Patrick’s Day coming up and my Irish-ness starting to raise it’s head here in my blog. It is called a coddle because of the slow simmering manner of cooking the dish. Dublin, of course, comes from the popularity of the dish in the Dublin area. I read one place once that the convenience of slow cooking the one-dish meal and the ease of keeping it warm in the oven has a logical basis – it allowed for a warm meal to be ready for the man of the house when he came home late from the pub, after the rest of the family was already in bed. Heh. From my experience there are almost as many variations of this dish as there are mothers and grandmothers. Just like in the US there are delicious recipe variations for meatloaf, chicken soup and apple pie, each cook makes it their own way. I probably committed some form of blasphemy by excluding potatoes from my version of this dish, but we are stubborn about our use of cauliflower as a potato substitute in our diet, so I happily blasphemed. The results were like a beef stew. I know, I know, there is no beef in the recipe. It is just a bunch of pig. That is what I thought! I think the beer mixes with all the other juices and just makes a darned rich broth that is reminiscent of beef broth. Sooooo good! A layer of thinly sliced potatoes as the top layer is the more traditional route, so I included it as an option in the recipe. I thought the quantities would serve four, but we did not have any sides, just a big bowl of coddle. Since there were so many veggies and protein in the coddle it ended up being healthy servings for two very hungry people. If you are not serving sides with the coddle I would recommend doubling the recipe for a party of more than three.
8 slices thick bacon
6 thick pork sausages (mild Italian or ideally some Irish bangers)
1 Tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup water
1 head cauliflower or 3 medium potatoes
1 large carrot
1 12-ounce beer or hard cider
1 Tbsp dried parsley leaves
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. In a large frying pan cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Transfer cooked bacon to Dutch oven. In bacon grease over medium high heat add sausages and cook until browned, but stop before they are completely cooked through. Cut the sausages into one-inch pieces and transfer them to the Dutch oven. In what is left of the bacon grease add the butter. When the butter is melted add the onion and garlic. Saute until onions are softened but not browned. Transfer onion and garlic to Dutch oven. You are now done with the frying pan. Salt and pepper the stuff in the Dutch oven to your liking, then pour in the water. Slice the carrot into coins, no more than ¼ inch thick. Chop cauliflower into bite-sized floret pieces, or peel and slice potatoes, no more than ¼ inch thick. Add to the Dutch oven a layer of carrot, followed by a layer of cauliflower. You may not need the whole head of cauliflower, but there should be an even layer of it over the top of everything else. If using potatoes make an even layer of slices on top, overlapping them so the other ingredients are substantially covered. Sprinkle the parsley and thyme on top of the cauliflower/potatoes, followed by salt and pepper to your liking. Add the beer or cider. The liquid in the Dutch oven should come up to about the middle of the pot and not totally submerge all the ingredients. Cover the Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid or two layers of foil. Place in 400 degree preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, then turn heat down to 325 degrees and cook for another 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the cauliflower/potato layer is soft and ready to eat. Turn off the oven and leave the coddle inside it until time to serve. It will stay hot for quite a while.