Dublin Coddle is a traditional Irish potato, sausage, and bacon stew that slow cooks away in the oven. It’s great for St. Patrick’s Day or any day you need some comfort food!
Ready in 2hr 15min
I know many of you will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and cabbage, and no offense to you guys (I mean, I love corned beef and cabbage, too), but this Dublin coddle is what you should be having instead. Because, yum. It’s hearty, it’s easy, it’s delicious, and from my research, it’s a more authentic way to celebrate Ireland than corned beef (which apparently is an Irish-American thing—not from the homeland itself).
Granted, I’m pretty much the last person who should be writing with any authority about Irish culture. The entirety of my education on Ireland came from this awesome Irish restaurant in my college town that I went to weekly. I don’t have many Irish ancestors (I did my family tree a few years back, and I’m like 00.0000001% Irish). I’ve never been to Ireland. But hey, the whole idea with St. Patrick’s Day is that everyone is Irish, right? So I’m going with it.
So at the aforementioned Irish restaurant from my college days, I would always order exactly the same thing: Dublin Coddle (which they served in a bread bowl), a side of Blarney Puffballs (which I’m thinking aren’t quite authentic—basically they were deep fried cheese and potato balls), soda bread, and more than one pint of Guinness. And we wonder how I gained 50 pounds in college…
If you’ve never had Dublin coddle before, it’s kinda like the Irish version of beef stew. It’s bacon, pork sausages, onions, and potatoes all long-stewed in a thick brown gravy. Everything I’ve seen about coddle talks about its working-class roots. This isn’t a delicate meal. This is the kind of meal that can slow cook away in the oven for hours and hours and hours while you’re working hard and still be delicious when you come home.
Another tidbit I’ve read about coddle—every family seems to have their own special recipe. Correct me if I’m wrong, Irish readers of mine, but it doesn’t really seem like there is one “authentic” version of coddle. Basically, you put into a pot whatever you have kicking around your kitchen, and it always turns out delicious. Because bacon.
Now, this is a slow cooked recipe that I don’t recommend doing in the slow cooker. The slow cooker would work, but most slow cookers cook with very moist heat. Sometimes I find that moist heat actually makes potatoes go mushy and mealy instead of tender and soft. And considering this stew is 75% about the delicious, pillowy potato bites? No one wants them to be mushy.
Instead, I recommend investing in a nice, sturdy, cast iron Dutch oven, and doing this baby at a low temp in your oven. I have a beautiful red Lodge Dutch oven (affiliate link) that cost me less than $65, heats wonderfully, and will last me a lifetime if I take care of it. I might even be able to pass it down to Juniper when she’s older.
There are a lot of really beautiful and really expensive Dutch ovens out there, and if you can swing a pricier brand and it makes you happy, go for it. But honestly, for my money, you can’t go wrong with spending less than $100 and getting a lifetime-quality pot. My love for Lodge knows no bounds (and they don’t even know I exist, I just really like them, you should see me swooning at the Lodge aisle in Cabela’s).
The crazy thing about Dublin coddle is that you think there is no way it’s going to be flavorful enough. It’s too simple to be delicious, but magic happens in the oven! Seriously. Mag-ic. This dish is bursting with flavor that only gets better and better as leftovers.
There are a few odd things about making coddle (like: don’t add salt!), so make sure you read the notes section in the recipe below. OH, and because I bow down to the altar of the God of Carbs, you have to serve coddle with soda bread (although, maybe skip the bread bowl). I just so happen to have an awesome Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread recipe on my blog that I just so happened to update with brand new photos and a new instructional video last week. Go figure. Enjoy!
- 8 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 1 pound high-quality pork sausages (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 bottle Guinness beer (see notes)
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large onions, cut into slices
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups beef, ham, or chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 300°.
- Heat a large, oven-proof Dutch oven over high heat. Add in the bacon and cook until crisp, about five minutes. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels. Leave the grease in the Dutch oven.
- Add the sausages in, a few at a time (don't crowd the pan), and cook on each side until just golden brown—no need to cook all the way through. Remove to a plate and continue with additional sausages. Remove to plate. When cool enough to handle. Slice into 1" pieces.
- Reduce the heat to low, and then whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Then remove from heat completely.
- Whisk in the bottle of Guinness (see notes if you'd like to not use beer).
- Place half of the potatoes in the gravy, followed by half of the onions, half of the garlic, half of the bacon, half of the sausages, half of the parsley, the bay leaves, the thyme, and black pepper. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the broth over the whole thing. Place lid on, and bake in preheated oven for at least 2 hours (see notes).
Between the bacon, sausages, and broth, this dish is inherently very salty. Do not add more salt without tasting it first! I almost never add additional salt when making coddle.
If you want to skip using the beer, just sub in 1½ additional cups of whatever broth you are using.
The coddle will be ready to eat after 2 hours in the oven, but it can easily stay cooking for 3-5 hours without any consequence. This isn't a delicate dish. You don't have to worry about breaking it.