Feeding children is a cut-throat business. Tonight, I break the heart of Emily who was promised the recipe for Orange and Chocolate Chip Biscuits I teasingly posted on Facebook. But here I am, sitting on the stairs listening to one last child whingeing about how he’s not tired and the general state of the world, writing up a recipe for Coddle. The ugliest dinner you could ever make but one which has mysterious powers. By which I mean my children eat the carrots, and don’t even notice the onions.
To the uninitiated, Coddle is a Dublin dish and a fairly simple one at that. It’s a smooshy carbfest, perfect for cold days. It contains two of most kids favourite things – bacon and sausage; and a number of their least favourite things – vegetables. It’s a very lazy dinner and one you can knock up in a fairly short time, it freezes fabulously and (surely the icing on the cake) tastes quite lovely with a glass of red wine. But again, it’s ugly. In the interests of vanity I brown the sausages before bunging in the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise they look a little like small willies lurking in your dish. There. I said it. And now that’s all I can see.
So with those lovely thoughts in mind, but balancing this out against the fact the monsters ate three helpings each tonight (including the carrots, did I mention that part?), here’s Dublin Coddle. Seriously, try it. You’ll be impressed – not least because your kids are unlikely to be fighting you AND you’ll have that wine.
2 medium onions, chopped finely
6 slices of unsmoked streaky bacon, chopped
500g pork sausages, with each chopped in two or three
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
300g potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks of c. 1 inch
350ml chicken stock, hot
1 teaspoon dried thyme / 1 sprig of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to season
1 teaspoon parsley.
- In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion. Cover and sweat for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow the onion to colour.
- Uncover and add the bacon and chopped up sausage. Cook for 5 minutes to brown.
- Add the carrots and potatoes and stir well. Allow to cook for a few minutes.
- Add the stock and thyme. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, allowing the Coddle to simmer for 25 minutes.
- Season to taste, adding the parsley as you serve. (Though frankly I leave that part out for the young ‘uns).
And finally, to Emily: I’m sorry. Truly. Biscuits will follow.