Like many traditional dishes, the recipe for Irish coddle (also known as Dublin coddle) varies widely from family to family. Born in 1700s inner-city Dublin tenements, it’s a grab-what-you-have kind of stew that simmers low and slow to peak deliciousness. The building blocks of the dish--bacon, sausage, onions, potatoes and plenty of parsley and black pepper--add up to more than the sum of their parts, creating a dark, flavorful broth and an incredibly warm bowl of nourishment. Serving with slices of soda bread is a must and adding a splash of Ireland’s favorite beer, while optional, is very highly recommended!
Add the bacon to a large Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders, about 10 minutes. Add the sausage and increase the heat to medium high. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon and sausage are nicely browned, about 10 more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon and sausage to a plate.
Drain the fat from the pot and return it to medium heat. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup water. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pot, then sprinkle the onions with 1 tablespoon of the parsley and plenty of black pepper. Layer the bacon and sausage over the onions and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley and more black pepper. Layer the potatoes over the meat and add enough water to submerge everything but the potatoes, about 2 cups. Season the potato layer with a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring the liquid to a boil (don’t stir!), then cover and transfer to the oven. Bake, checking halfway to add more water if needed, until the onions are very tender and caramelized and the liquid has reduced slightly, about 2 hours.
Finish with a pour of stout, if using, and a final garnish of the remaining parsley. Serve immediately with soda bread.
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