Coddle Is a Hearty One-Pot-Wonder of an Irish Potato Stew That Hearkens Back Centuries

updated Mar 10, 2023
Coddle Recipe

This potato-heavy stew is a slow-cooked one-pot wonder made with a handful of simple ingredients.

Serves6

Prep45 minutes

Cook3 hours to 5 hours

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sauteed potatoes in a pot on a marble background
Credit: Tara Holland

Coddle is an Irish dish that is centuries old and originates from Dublin. It’s a slow-cooked one-pot wonder — a potato-heavy stew, made with a handful of simple ingredients that yield a comforting meal on a chilly evening

What Is Coddle Made Of?

Coddle is made with only a handful of ingredients: onions, potatoes, bacon, and sausage, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and parsley. It was traditionally served on Thursdays when families would use up any leftover “rashers” (bacon) and sausages from the week. This is also because traditionally Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays. 

As this dish was derived from leftovers, sometimes root vegetables or whatever else was left over from the week were added.

What Type of Sausages to Use

Irish sausages are ideal, but Irish (as well as British) sausages can be hard to come by. If possible, buy good-quality pork sausage links or a sausage spiral coil from a butcher or a meat counter.

If you can’t find traditional pork sausages, breakfast links can be used as a substitute. They are similar in size to thin Richmond Irish sausages. If you are using those, just cut them in half. If all else fails, uncooked Bratwurst is another alternative.

Before layering the coddle, the sausages are only seared, then chopped. They can dry out easily if fully cooked before going into the pot.    

Seasoning Coddle

As only parsley, salt, and pepper were traditionally used, you can stick to that if you want. I’ve sneaked in a touch of dried thyme and a few bay leaves for extra flavor. My Dublin cousins will probably disown me, as I’ve added a rebellious touch.

When it’s cooked, I brush the top layer of potatoes with the rendered bacon fat and broil the top. This additional optional step adds golden crispiness to the edges of the potatoes, adding more flavor, texture, and toastiness. 

Can I Make Coddle Ahead of Time?

You can make coddle the day before, and like all stews, the flavor will only get better. However, the delicious juices it creates (the best part, in my opinion) get completely sucked up by the potatoes overnight. You can add more stock if making coddle ahead of time, but I think it’s best served on the day it’s cooked straight from the warm pot. 

Credit: Tara Holland

What Type of Potatoes Should I Use in Coddle?

Russets are the closest to floury Irish potatoes, so they’re the most authentic to use. The high starch levels mean the smaller pieces break down much easier than waxy potatoes, which adds to the flavor of the juices and creates a slightly richer consistency.

Potatoes were traditionally quartered or chopped, but slices are sometimes used, as in this recipe, because they’re easier to layer. If you prefer to skip the slicing, quarter or chop your potatoes into 2- to 3-inch chunks instead.

Coddle Recipe

This potato-heavy stew is a slow-cooked one-pot wonder made with a handful of simple ingredients.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 3 hours to 5 hours

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    thick-cut bacon (about 10 slices)

  • 1 pound

    uncooked pork sausage links, preferably Irish (5 to 6 links)

  • 2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth, or 2 cups reconstituted chicken or ham bouillon paste or cubes and water (follow package directions), divided

  • 3 pounds

    russet potatoes (5 to 6 medium)

  • 4

    medium yellow onions

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper or freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    dried thyme, divided

  • 3

    bay leaves, divided

  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300℉.

  2. Trim off and discard the rind from 1 pound thick-cut bacon. Cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Place in a 7-quart or larger Dutch oven or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally and making sure bacon does not brown or crisp, until the fat is slightly translucent and any watery liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

  3. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot (reserve the remaining for another use). Add 1 pound uncooked pork sausage links to the pot and cook on medium heat until lightly browned on 2 sides, about 1 1/2 minutes per side (they will not be cooked through). Transfer to the plate with bacon.

  4. Pour 1/4 cup of the low-sodium chicken broth into the pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Pour the liquid into a small heatproof bowl and reserve the pot.

  5. Prepare the following and set aside: Peel 3 pounds russet potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Peel and slice 4 medium yellow onions crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds; separate with your hands into rings. Pick and finely chop the leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh parsley until you get 1/3 loosely packed cup.

  6. Cut the sausages crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Divide the sausages, bacon, potatoes, onions, and parsley into 3 piles for the 3 layers.

  7. Assemble the coddle in the Dutch oven. Evenly layer 1/3 of each ingredient in this order: Onion rings, bacon, sausage, potato slices sprinkled with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, parsley, and 1 bay leaf. Press down firmly with your hands to compact. Repeat layering the remaining ingredients two more times, reserving some parsley in a small bowl and refrigerating for garnish.

  8. Pour the remaining 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth and reserved deglazed liquid over the top potato layer. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and then the lid.

  9. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours. Check to make sure all the liquid has not entirely evaporated, there should always be at least 1-inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot. Add more water as needed. Discard the foil and cover again with lid. Return to the oven and bake for 1 hour more.

  10. Check that the onions are soft; if not, cover and bake for 30 minutes more. Remove from the oven. (You can even cook for up to 5 hours in total, the ingredients can withhold the longer cook time. Just make sure you check on the liquid level occasionally during the extra cook time.) Optional: Heat the broiler. Uncover and generously brush the top layer of potatoes with the reserved bacon fat. Broil until the potatoes are golden brown at the edges, around 7 minutes.

  11. Let the coddle rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved parsley. Spoon into bowls, including the juices from the bottom of the pot. Discard the bay leaves as you find them during serving. Serve with crusty bread to dip into the juices if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The juices and stock soaks up overnight, so you may wish to add a splash more broth when reheating.