Preparing for Ireland…Dublin Coddle & Brown Soda Bread

2016-01-14_19.41.06Our first trip to Ireland was in 2012, for our 2nd anniversary. We’re returning this summer, but we’re planning a bit of a different trip.  Instead of touring the company through a tour group, we’ve rented a farm house/cottage in Graiguenamanagh, the Village of the Monks, and we’ll drive ourselves (and my parents) around the country.  At this point, we feel we’re familiar enough with the people and country that we can serve as our own tour guides and not be restricted by schedules and someone else’s timeline.  No, this time, we will stop when we want to stop, visit for as long as we want to visit, and tour distilleries and breweries all along the way.

In preparation for our trip, my husband gave me an Irish Pub cookbook for Christmas.  No, he doesn’t expect me to cook everyday that we’re in Ireland, but he thought it would be cool to try some of the recipes and introduce my parents to the food before we go. The plan is to make a different dish from the cookbook every week until we’ve completed the book. Last week, we tried Cider & Cream Salmon and Potato & Bacon Cakes.  I’ll be honest, I over cooked the salmon (super frustrated), and the potato cakes were the best potato cakes I have EVER eaten…EVER!

Last night was round 2.  The plan…Dublin Coddle (yeah, I don’t know what that is either!) and Irish Soda Bread with Molasses.  Before I attacked the recipe, I did a little reading while at the gym, and I’m glad I did, because in true form, I hadn’t read through the recipe completely and didn’t realize that the stew is cooked in the oven.

Coddle is a traditional Irish dish usually associated with Dublin and known also as Dublin Coddle. It is comfort food of the highest degree; a hearty nutritious stew-like dish made from salty bacon, pork sausages and potatoes.

The name comes from the long, slow simmering or ‘coddling’ of the dish. It has been suggested the popularity of coddle arose because it can be left simmering on the stove till the man comes in from the pub long after the wife had gone to bed.

There are as many recipes for Dublin Coddle as there are bars in the city, and everyone’s mother has their own version which of course, is always the best. (http://britishfood.about.com/)

All in all, dinner took about an hour to cook (stew and bread), and it was…is…some of the best “stew” I’ve ever had.  The coddle recipe suggested using the bread to mop up the juices from the stew, but honestly, I inhaled the bread with butter and never put my bowl down.

Dublin Coddle

6 slices bacon-cut into 2″ pieces

approx. 1/2 lb link sausage…recipe called for fresh sausage, but that’s not available where we live, so I substituted with Uncle John’s Pride Smoked Sausage Little  Links–but into 1-2″ pieces

1 medium onion-chopped

2 cloves garlic-minced

1 leek-sliced with white and light green parts

2 large russet potatoes-peeled and cubed (1″ chunks)

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs of thyme-stripped from the stem

1 TBSP dried parsley

3 c. broth–I used half pork and half beef (made from bouillon packets)

salt & pepper

In a skillet over high heat, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove from grease and allow to cool. Remove all but 1 TBSP bacon fat from skillet.  Reduce heat to medium and add sausage. Cook for 10 minutes or until sausage is lightly browned and slightly crisp.  Add more bacon fat as needed to prevent sticking.  Remove from skillet.  Add onions and garlic to skillet.  Saute for 5 minutes or until onions are soft.  Do not let garlic burn.

Meanwhile, in a casserole, layer bacon, sausage, sliced leek, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and potatoes.  Sprinkle potatoes with salt & pepper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When onion and garlic are soft, add broth and scrape any bits from bottom of skillet.  Bring broth and onions to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over casserole.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until bubbly and potatoes are tender.

Irish Soda Bread with Molasses (aka..Brown Irish Soda Bread)

2 c. all purpose flour

2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP baking soda

2 TBSP molasses

1 1/2 c. buttermilk

Combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.  In a small bowl or cup, combine buttermilk and molasses.  Pour buttermilk-molasses mixture over flour mixture and combine with a fork.  When all liquid has been absorbed, turn out onto a flour dusted surface and knead/form into a soft ball.

Place dough onto a lined cookie sheet and press into a 2″ thick disk.  Using a sharp knife cut a deep “X” across the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and solid.  Allow to cool a few minutes before slicing.

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