Dublin Coddle is a classic Irish dish that has been around for centuries. It’s a hearty, filling meal that features bacon, sausage, potatoes, and onion…and sometimes other ingredients depending on the cook’s whim. It’s a perfect meal for a cold, cozy night and a great St. Patrick’s Day alternative to corned beef and cabbage!
Traditionally slow-cooked on a fire or in an oven, it can also be made in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. The result is a savory, comforting stew with a hint of natural sweetness.
Dublin Coddle: A Brief History
It’s said that the term ‘coddle’ is probably derived from an Old North French word ‘caudle’ that was a warm drink given to the ill (which was likely boiled), and somewhere along the way took on the meaning of gently boiled, or ‘coddled’.
The dish dates back to the late 1700s when, during a famine, anything available would be thrown into a pot to create a nourishing meal. Made from leftover sausages, bacon, and potatoes it was a typical Thursday meal for Irish Catholics since no meat would be eaten on Fridays.
People migrated into the city to find work and brought hens and pigs with them to raise as food, selling off the main and using the leftovers to make sausage. Over time, Dublin Coddle became a favorite dish of working-class city dwellers.
Ingredients for Dublin Coddle
Given its long history, you might suspect there are a ton of variations for Dublin Coddle and you’d be correct! In the spirit of its modest and resourceful roots, use what you have on hand or what is readily available to give it your own homegrown spin.
- Bacon — rashers, cut from the loin or back of the pig, is traditional, but streaky bacon, from the belly, is what you’ll find in every grocery store across the country.
- Fresh sausage — (not fully cooked) you may have a hard time finding traditional Irish pork sausage, but there are many great substitutes…think bratwurst, Polish sausage, poultry sausage, even breakfast sausage.
- Spanish onions — these are the larger, yellow onions.
- Leek — an allium that resembles a giant spring onion. They have a sweet, subtle onion flavor that I love.
- Herbs — bay leaf, fresh thyme, and fresh parsley.
- Russet potatoes — I like the starch level for this stew, but you can use other varieties.
- Chicken stock — or broth.
- Kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper
Slow Cooker Dublin Coddle
Slow cookers are wonderful for passive cooking and when you don’t have the option of keeping a watchful eye on the cooktop or oven. This method does require a stove-top skillet up front, but once you layer the ingredients into the crockpot, you’re free to tackle other things.
- In a skillet over medium heat, crisp the bacon (remove to drain), then brown the sausage (remove to drain). Add the onion, leek, and garlic and cook to soften.
- Transfer the onions to the bottom of the slow cooker, then layer on the sausage and bacon. Nestle the potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf in between the sausages, then pour in the stock. Season with salt & pepper.
- Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high.
Instant Pot Dublin Coddle
The Instant Pot allows you to make this entire dish in one pot, from sautéing to stewing. Cooking the ingredients under pressure reduces the overall cooking time, making it a great method for getting a hearty stew to the table in about an hour.
- Use the sauté function to crisp the bacon (remove to drain), then brown the sausage (remove to drain). Finally, cook the onion, leek, and garlic until tender.
- Pour in the stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Turn off the sauté function.
- Layer the sausage and bacon on top of the onions. Season and add the herbs. Finally, add the sliced potatoes and season again.
- Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, then do a quick release.
If the Instant Pot throws a ‘burn’ warning, turn off the appliance and give it a little shake (like popping corn on the stovetop). Wait a moment and reset it without releasing any built-up pressure or removing the lid. For additional insurance against this, consider adding an extra half cup of stock when using this method.
Helpful Recipe Tips
Bacon fat — the rendered bacon fat is used to brown the sausage and cook the onions and garlic. If you prefer, remove some or all of the fat after you cook the bacon or replace it with olive oil or butter.
Sausages — you really just need to brown the sausages as they will finish cooking with the other ingredients. Depending on their size, browning time will vary.
Herbs — remove the bay leaf and any woody thyme stems before serving.
Storage – transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Cutting leeks — leeks often have dirt between their layers. To prepare them for this recipe:
- Remove the outermost one or two leaves of the leek. Cut off the root end and the dark green tops, leaving the light green portion. (Discard the tops, or clean and use for stock.)
- Cut the leek in half lengthwise.
- Slice it into thin half-moons.
- Wash in clean water and agitate with your fingers to work out any dirt. Spread out on a tea towel to dry.
Variations & Serving Suggestions
- Purists may have a thing to say about this, but consider adding other vegetables like carrots, or swapping out potatoes for other starchy root vegetables. In fact, before the potato, grains were the more popular starch in Irish cooking (or so I’ve read).
- Consider adding to or substituting some of the stock for hard cider or Guinness. Many recipes add a splash of Guinness at the end, just before serving.
- Serve the stew right from the pot, or remove it to a serving dish along with all the sauce.
- Irish soda bread, or your favorite crusty loaf, is a must to sop up the juices!
- Serve Dublin Coddle with a vegetable on the side, like a fresh lettuce salad, steamed green beans, or roasted Brussels sprouts.
Dublin coddle is a delicious and hearty dish that can be cooked using several methods. While each has its own advantages and disadvantages, all will produce a tasty, comforting meal for the whole family. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which method is best for you!
Linda Feller has been a Plan to Eat superfan since 2013 and will whip out the app to share with anyone who expresses the least bit of interest. She is a recipe developer, food photographer, and the gal behind Sip + Sanity, recipes for entertaining and celebrating. www.sipandsanity.com
FB & Instagram: @sipandsanity
Dublin Coddle (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
Prepping ingredients will take 10 to 15 minutes. For active and device cook times, please see the Directions.
Source: Sip + Sanity | Linda Feller for Plan to Eat
Course: Main Course
- 1⁄2 lb bacon sliced into lardons
- 1 lb fresh sausages pork, poultry, breakfast, etc.
- 3 large Spanish onions halved + sliced
- 1 leek white part only, sliced into half moons, rinsed + dried
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- kosher salt + fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 russet potatoes peeled + cut into 1/2" slices
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock feel free to add an extra 1/2 cup of stock for the Instant Pot method
- SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS (active time: 30 min | slow cooking time: 3 to 8 hours)
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until desired crispness. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Add the sausages to the skillet and cook until evenly browned, turning as needed. (You only need to brown the sausage as they will continue to cook thoroughly in the slow cooker.) Remove to a paper towel to drain. Add the onions, leek and garlic to the skillet; season with a little salt + pepper. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes just to soften the onions. Cut the sausages into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
- Spread the onions across the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the sausage and bacon. Nestle the potatoes, thyme and bay leaf in between the sausages. Pour in the stock, then season with salt + pepper.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours; until the potatoes are tender. Check the pot once at least halfway through and gently press the potatoes down into the cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf and woody stems of the thyme before serving.
- INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS (active time: 30 min | Instant Pot time: about 32 min)
- Turn on the sauté function. Once hot, add the bacon and cook until desired crispness. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Add the sausages to the pot and cook until evenly browned, turning as needed. (You only need to brown the sausage as they will continue to cook thoroughly under pressure.) Remove to a paper towel to drain. Add the onions, leek and garlic to the pot; season with a little salt + pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes just to soften the onions. Pour the stock over the onions and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon. Turn off the pressure cooker and leave the onions in the pot.
- Cut the sausages into 2 to 3-inch pieces. Layer the sausages and bacon on top of the onions. Season with black pepper. Add the bay leaf, parsley + thyme. Finally, distribute the potatoes to cover. Season with salt + more pepper.
- Close the lid and seal the valve. Set it to high pressure for 12 minutes. (It takes about 20 minutes to come to full pressure before the 12 minutes countdown begins.) Quick release the pressure. Remove the bay leaf and woody stems of the thyme before serving.