Irish Coddle (Sausage and Potato Stew)

Stew and soups are the comfort foods mostly associated with winter and early spring. Those bowls of liquid goodness filled with piping hot liquids warm the soul as well as the body on a cold blustery day. And Irish Coddle is one of these tasty stews that should be in the repertoire of any home cook.

A white procelain bowl in the foreground full of Irish Coddle Stew with a red cast iron dutch oven in the background also full of of the same fare.

This rustic fare has been served in Dublin and the center of Ireland since at least the 1600s. Usually accompanied with simple soda bread to round out the stew and fill the stomach, this rustic dish packs in the protein and fat needed in cold weather, and for a folk who weren’t… errr… as “coddled” as we are nowadays.

But in all seriousness, the sausages in this hearty meal weren’t overprotected as children. The word “coddle” in the name refers to a process of simmering or cooking just below the boiling point, and it’s more commonly associated with eggs.

Bacon, sausage, and red potatoes fill out this dish with bottle of stout beer added to pack in a few more carbs (bread in a bottle, and all).

A close up view of an Irish Sausage, Bacon, Potato and Stout Stew in a white porcelain serving bowl.

So, you may not want to eat this tasty dish as an everyday meal, but once in a while won’t hurt anything. Especially if you’re preparing an authentic Irish meal for St. Patrick’s day.

And paired with a green leafy salad and a bit of fruit, a smaller portion of this splurge-worthy stew is a great way to serve up those fats that we need to help absorb the nutrients in the greens, alongside your daily dose of protein and carbs.

Top down view of a white porcelain bowl and a red cast iron dutch oven full of Irish Coddle or Sausage Stew. The bowl and cooking vessel are sitting on a green and blue green bamboo place mat and a green oven mitt rests to the right.

A big bowlful of this stew is like the culinary version of a warm hug, and is best served on a lazy Sunday with time set aside for a nap afterwards. Heaven on Earth.

A ladle full of Irish Coddle Stew in the in focus foreground. A bowl and cast iron pot full of the same fare is in the diffused background.

And it’s not difficult to make, with just a quick boil on the stove followed by 45 minutes to braise in the oven. It can also be made in a slow cooker by dumping in the ingredients and allowing the pot to brew for 4 to 6 hours on low.

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A close up view of an Irish Sausage, Bacon, Potato and Stout Stew in a white porcelain serving bowl.

Irish Coddle (Sausage and Potato Stew)


  • Author: Mike Quinn
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings

Description

Irish stick-to-your-ribs comfort food made with sausage, bacon, red potatoes, and topped off with a bottle of Guinness.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces center cut bacon, divided into thirds
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 3-5 sprigs fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 3-5 sprigs fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken broth (mine was homemade)
  • 12 ounces Guinness or other stout beer (one standard bottle)
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, cut into large chunks (about 6 large potatoes or 20 “petite”)
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet until the edges are just beginning to turn brown. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towels. Reserve fat.
  2. Cook sausage in the same skillet, adding the reserved bacon fat if needed to prevent sticking. (If using a breakfast sausage, break into pieces using your fingers before placing into the pan. If using a sausage that is in large links, keep intact, then slice after cooking or while it is is still frying.) Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Place onions in skillet. Cook until lightly browned and softened, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Layer cooked onions in the bottom of a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven. Place bacon on top of onions, and sausage on top of bacon.
  5. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add minced garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.
  6. Pour in chicken broth and the bottle of stout beer.
  7. Spread potatoes and leeks evenly over the top.
  8. Preheat oven to 300°F. Cover and place pan on stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  9. Place covered pan into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Serve warm, ladled into bowls.

Notes

Adapted from Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen.

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Start by cutting the yellow onion in half, then thinly slice it into half-rounds with a sharp chef’s knife.

Yellow onion being sliced on a cutting board with a Japanese Gyuto Cook's Knife.

After cleaning it well to get rid of any grit, trim and cut up the white and light green parts of the leek into thinly sliced half rounds. Discard the green tops.

Leeks being sliced up on a Epicurean cutting board with a Japanese Gyuto knife

Wash the potatoes and drain well in a colander. Chunk up into bite-sized pieces.

I used petite potatoes here, and they will have more skin left intact than their full-sized brethren would (more roughage!) and I wanted to show off that beautiful red skin. You could use any potato you have on hand really, but reds will have a less starchy taste most others.

Petite red potatoes being chunked up with a Japanese Gyuto Chef's Knife on a Epicurean cutting board.
This is one of my favorite chef’s knives – a simple, traditional style gyuto, which is a a type of Japanese made or inspired kitchen knife.

Mince the garlic cloves or crush them with the flat side of a chef’s knife.

Cut the center-cut bacon into thirds. You can use any bacon you like, but most center cuts are a bit more meaty and have less fat. If you use regular bacon instead, cut it into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces.

Center cut bacon being sliced into thirds with a Japanese Chef's knife.

Step 2 – Mise en Place

Measure out the remainder of the ingredients and place them all in one central spot on your counter or table, so you can reach them easily.

Top down shot of all of the ingredients prepped and laid out in place for the the Irish Sausage and Potato Coddle Stew.

Step 3 – Fry Up the Bacon, Sausage, and Onions

Preheat a large frying pan and place your uncooked bacon pieces inside once it warms up. I use a carbon steel skillet as my go-to bacon cooker, but use what ya got.

Close up of bacon pieces being fried in a carbon steel skillet.

Don’t overcook the bacon. We want to render enough of the fat out so the stew doesn’t become a lard bucket, but we want to leave a smidgen in there for taste. Fat equals flavor (within limits).

Once you’ve gotten your bacon cooked to an acceptable level, remove and set aside to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Place your sausage links in the pan and brown on all sides. Chop up the links into bite-sized pieces with a metal turner.

Close up of sausage being browned in a carbon steel frying pan.

Once your sausage is fully cooked, remove and set aside to drain. Add the onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes, occasionally flipping and stirring them. Remove from the pan after they’ve softened.

Close up of onions being fried in bacon grease in a carbon steel skillet. A stainless steel turner is hanging over the pan in the bottom right.

Step 4 – Layer the Ingredients into a Dutch Oven

After all of the bacon, sausage, and onions are fried, layer them into the the Dutch oven starting with the onions, then bacon, then sausage.

Close up of sausage pieces, bacon, and fried onion being layered into the bottom of red porcelain coated Dutch oven.

Add the minced garlic and all of your spices, including the bay leaves, fresh thyme, parsley, and freshly ground black pepper.

Bay leaves, dried marjoram, crushed garlic, freshly ground pepper, and fresh thyme added to the cast iron dutch oven.

Pour in your beer. I used Guinness but you can use other brands like Murphy’s or one of the newer hipster craft brands.

Guinness stout beer and chicken stock poured over the ingredients in the cast iron Dutch oven.

Layer in your potato chunks and leeks and you are all set.

The chunked red potatoes and sliced leek are being layered in over the rest of the ingredients in the red, cast iron Dutch oven.

Step 5 – Boil and Braise

Preheat your oven to 300°F. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Transfer to the oven and allow to braise for an additional 45 minutes.

Step 6 – Serve and Smile

Taste for seasoning, and remove the bay leaves and thyme. Serve hot with some large chunks of soda bread, or even plain white.

A white porcelain bowl full of Irish Coddle stew sitting on a blue and blue green place mat.

What about you? Have you tried an Irish Coddle Stew? Is it not the perfect comfort food? Let us know in the comments below.

Like cooking with stout beer? Don’t forget to check out these other tasty recipes:


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different photos of a completed Irish Coddle Stew recipe.

Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Mike Quinn

Mike Quinn spent 20 years in the US Army and traveled extensively all over the world. As part of his military service, Mike sampled coffee and tea from all virtually every geographic region, from the beans from the plantation of an El Salvadorian Army Colonel to "Chi" in Iraq to Turkish Coffee in the Turkish Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He spent nearly a decade in the Republic of Korea where he was exposed to all forms of traditional teas. Mike formerly owned and operated Cup And Brew, an online espresso and coffee equipment retail operation.

Do you want to try truly authentic Irish comfort food? This coddle recipe will tickle your taste buds with loads of red skinned potatoes, a ton of sausage, a wallop of bacon, and all topped off with a bottle of Irish stout beer. Have an Irish Pub in your own kitchen with this super tasty stew. Get the recipe now.

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