‘There are hundreds of Coddle recipes, but mine is the true Dublin one’
The Irish Times: We Love Food – Joan Scales, travel writer
Joan Scales with a bowl of her True Dublin Coddle
I was earwigging on the Luas one evening while a girl was describing Dublin Coddle to a friend from overseas. My ears pricked up, then she mentioned carrots, and I knew she was a blow-in.
Who ever heard of carrots in a Coddle?
A true Dublin Coddle is potatoes, bacon and sausages and it is the combination of these staple ingredients that makes a great dish. My Gran’s recipe is a potato soup with lots of onions, fresh parsley and thyme with chunks of bacon and slippery sausages.
There are hundreds of Coddle recipes – everyone has their own variation but the Scales version is the true one!
My Dad used to make it on winter Saturdays and we looked forward to it. It was always served with stories of old Dublin and the things he got up to when he was young.
The truly simply way to start a Coddle is with a packet of Erin Potato Soup (this is cheating a bit, but does save time). Another easy option is a pack of bacon pieces from Aldi or Lidl, it costs €1.99 for a kilo. Watch out for the smoked pieces, they’re not as tasty in a Coddle. You need to trim it well before adding it to the soup. Next in are two big onions sliced, a big bunch of thyme, a handful of chopped parsley and stir, cooking for about 30 minutes.
Add roughly diced potatoes to the soup – waxy potatoes are better than floury. When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the sausages, they only take about 15 minutes. Sometimes I use cocktail sausages for a bit of variety. Then add a half litre of full-fat milk, a good shake of white pepper and no salt.
The one thing I have learned over the years making Coddle is that it cooks quite quickly, about an hour altogether.
My daughter, when she moved to London, made it for Norwegian friends, only she cooked it so long the sausages melted into it. They didn’t know the difference, though, and loved it.
The first taste of Coddle is of a salty, herby, creamy, sweetish potato concoction, and the taste lingers a while. Coddle may be a poor man’s Boeuf Stroganoff but served hot with a dash of Lea and Perrins, every Dubliner feels like royalty.
Read Joan’s tips for food travel in tomorrow’s Saturday Magazine