Dublin Coddle

March 15, 2013

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So while we’re on the subject of traditional Irish dishes for St. Patrick’s Day, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dublin Coddle. Dublin Coddle is a stew consisting of Irish Sausages, potatoes, onions and Irish Bacon. Oh, save us! Now that is my kind of stew! It has been enjoyed in Ireland since the seventeenth century and likely before. It was a favourite of the likes of Jonathan Swift, Seán O’Casey and James Joyce. How is that for an Irish pedigree for you?! The name Coddle, likely comes from the verb “caudle” which means to cook food in water below boiling. Now that below boiling is important, this stew is meant to be simmered or braised in a slow oven or stove-top. Or even in a slow cooker set on low for 4-6 hours. You can’t rush it. Remember, according to those old Irish wives telling tales, “a stew boiled is a stew spoiled“. You must be patient. It is said that some of the popularity of this stew was due to the fact that a wife could leave it simmering on the stove for hours and it would still be delicious when her man finally arrived home from the pub, long after she’d gone to bed!

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If you had not noticed, this stew does not have a heck of a lot of ingredients to it. Sausages, bacon, potatoes, and onions. It’s very simple. But that means it is highly dependent on the quality of the few ingredients involved. You want to source out the best you can find. Now in the States, I was a bit challenged sourcing out Irish style sausages and bacon. But it can be done. I found my Irish Sausages at the Falls Church Farmers Market at Stachowski Brand Charcuterie. They also have a storefront in Georgetown, Washington DC. They did say that these sausages were “English Bangers”, but that is much closer to the style of sausages found in Ireland than the usual  U.S. breakfast sausage. (You could use a regular breakfast sausage link if pressed, but I was trying to go for as close to authentic as I could get.) As far as the bacon goes, “English Rashers” is most likely as close as you will find. Irish bacon is quite different from what we call bacon in the states. Their bacon is taken from back loin, rather than the pork belly from which ours is cut. If you can’t find rashers, go with Canadian Bacon. I was able to find “English Rashers” at the Organic Butcher of McLean. They were absolutely outstanding! Besides salt, pepper and parsley, there are not a lot of spices in Dublin Coddle. I did decide to add some garlic, which I will justify by saying it is not unlikely that garlic would have been available and used in the good old days. I also added a couple of sprigs of thyme to my Coddle, pretty much justifying its presence along the same lines as the garlic. Indeed I will even go a bit further and give you an old Irish folktale about thyme. It is said that keeping a sprig of thyme in your pocket will not only protect you from fairy mischief, but will enable you to see them clearly when passing by a fairy mound. Very useful info I would say! Now I suppose I should take a moment to tell you what is not  to be found in Dublin Coddle….According to my friend Theresa, who lives in Ireland, there are no carrots to be found in Coddle. This is apparently a source of great controversy when one discusses Coddle in Ireland. Theresa’s family clearly comes down on the anti-carrot front and that is good enough for me. No Carrots! Don’t even think about it! (I’m sure I will be getting barraged with e-mails from great old established Dublin families, regaling me with tales of carrot inclusion as you read this… Oh well, I’m sticking to my guns! No carrots I say again!)

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As far as preparation goes, it is traditional to throw all of the ingredients thus mentioned into a pot to simmer away for hours. There is no browning of anything. However, I thought a little browning was in order. I had read that this dish, although incredibly tasty, was not particularly photogenic. I thought a little browning might go a long way there. Turns out, I’m not so sure it made a difference with the photos, though I think it was beneficial to texture and am happy to recommend it. My husband had never tasted Dublin Coddle before and was definitely intrigued as he watched me run hither and thither to gather all of the “required” ingredients. He was not disappointed when presented with a big bowl of Dublin Coddle with a side of Brown Bread to soak up the sauce. Coddle proves “Looks aren’t everything”. It is warm, hearty and delicious, a veritable “hug in a bowl”. Irish comfort food at its best!

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Dublin Coddle

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. Irish Bacon
  • 2 lb. Irish Sausages
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 springs thyme, leaves only
  • 4 lbs. potatoes, such as russests or Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Cups ham stock (you could use chicken broth if you can’t find ham stock)
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed fry pan. Add the Irish sausages. Cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Cook the bacon until brown, but not crispy. Transfer to a plate. Add the onions and garlic, saute until translucent.

Place a large dutch oven over low heat. Layer 1/2 of the onion/garlic mixture in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 of the sliced potatoes.

Roughly chop the bacon and add to the pan over the potatoes.

Cut each sausage link in half or into thirds (your preference) and add it to the pan over the bacon. Cover sausage with sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

Top with the remaining onions and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups of ham broth over layers.

Cover dutch oven and leave simmering on stove for 1 1/2 hours over low heat. About 30 minutes prior to serving, stir in 1/4 cup of cream or milk to further thicken the stew. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley when ready to serve.

Enjoy!


Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs

September 21, 2012

That’s right! Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs! Could anymore deliciousness be squeezed into a recipe title?!! So, to break it down, what I’m talking about here are lovely little pieces of chicken skewered onto a stick, coated with a bacon paste ( oh be still by heart…there is such a thing as a bacon paste!), smothered with a boozy Bourbon BBQ sauce and then, thanks to the mad grilling skills of my husband, grilled to perfection. (if I had grilled them they would have been a bit more crispy and a lot darker shade). As if there could be anything other than “perfection” with the likes of the list of ingredients just described.

These kebabs are easy to prepare and you can make them up well in advance of when you plan to grill them. The bacon paste coating was also quite easy to make. You just throw bacon pieces into the food processor along with your spices and whirr it all up until you’ve got a paste. I must admit, though, the thought of  it was a bit weird. I’ve never really worked with meat pastes before, but if they all taste as good as bacon paste, I say bring ‘em on! You can use any BBQ sauce that you like with this recipe as well. If you are short on time, just get a bottle of your favourite from the grocery store. I happened to have some of the Chipotle BBQ sauce left over from the Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork I made a little while ago, so I used that. You just add a bit of vinegar to your sauce if it needs a bit of a tangy zing and then pour in that booze! (Knob Creek for me) Easy peasy!

These kebabs are just delicious! The bacon paste not only keeps the chicken from drying out, but infuses it with a mouth-watering spicy flavour. And then that boozy BBQ sauce really gives them quite a kick. Smoke and Bourbon…deelish!

I know summer is drawing to a close (yay! yay! and super yay!), so you’ve gotta try to get these in your Fall grilling repertoire. You won’t regret it!

Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken Kebabs

recipe from: The Slow Roasted Italian

yield: 8- 10 kebabs

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces barbeque sauce, I used my homemade Chipotle BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey  (I prefer Knob Creek)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4-5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1”x1” pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 6 slices bacon , cut into small pieces
  • 8-10 12-inch wooden skewers (soaked in water for an hour)
Directions:
In a medium bowl combine barbeque sauce, vinegar and whiskey. (My Chipotle BBQ sauce was vinegary enough, so I chose not to add any to mine. However, if you have a sweeter sauce you are using, you may want to add the vinegar)  Whisk to combine.  Set aside and allow flavors to meld.
Add bacon pieces  to the bowl of your food processor and blend until bacon becomes a paste.  Add salt, pepper, paprikas, and sugar.  Pulse until well combined.
Pat chicken with a paper towel to dry.  Add bacon paste mixture to chicken; mix with hands until chicken is completely coated. Place chicken on skewers.
Place kebabs on preheated grill.  Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.  Brush cooked surface with barbecue sauce and cook each side (coated in sauce) for 1 additional minute.
Remove kebabs from grill.  Pour remaining barbeque sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour into a serving container and serve barbecue sauce along side kebabs.
Enjoy!

Bourbon Bacon Jam

March 30, 2012

You heard me right….BACON JAM! Lord in Heaven above, Have Mercy! I’d seen various blogs about this mythic food. I heard there was a food truck somewhere on the other side of the country that was serving this stuff up on its burgers. I was seriously fantasizing about it, but I had yet to experience it firsthand and was dying to give it a whirl. I mean, really?!! Bacon. Jam. I finally decided that it was time to take action. The Lord helps those who help themselves, so I’ve heard. So I got busy with a recipe for this ambrosia that I found on Spoon Fork Bacon. (Fabulous blog, you should check it out!) With a name like that, I knew that they would know how to make a killer Bacon Jam. As an added bonus, their recipe made a Boozy Bacon Jam. Well I was very excited now. I hadn’t even dreamed that Bourbon would be on the all-star list of ingredients for this recipe. And be warned, quite a lot of ingredients go into this blessed concoction, but nevertheless it is still quite easy to prepare. There is of course, one pound of applewood smoked bacon, and bourbon – don’t forget the bourbon. (Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon to be exact) Then there are the onions and the coffee, the ancho chili powder, smoky paprika, pure maple syrup, Sriracha Chili sauce, shallot, spices….Good Lands! And when you get all of these items combined just so, you let them sit a simmer for 1 1/2 hours, so that all that goodness can meld together. After one whirl in the good ole food processor, I swear the clouds parted and the light did shineth down. I had created it!  Bacon Jam! (insert maniacal laughter) I can tell you, I could hardly contain myself while it was bubbling away on the stove. But once it was finished and I got that first spicy, smoky, bacon-y taste I was doing a veritable bacon jig, which we really should have gotten film footage of, but I’ll just have to leave it up to your imagination. My husband started to laugh at me, but when a dollop of this magnificent creation landed square on his unsuspecting taste buds, his feet started to move on their own as well. Once you make your batch of this jam, you’ll know all the steps to the dance for sure! It’s instinctive. Involuntary. No instruction necessary. You’ll see….

What will I do with my Bourbon Bacon Jam now that I have it? Well, first of all I think I need to put it under guard, because the few folks that know it’s here are planning a heist to relieve me of my treasure. (By the way, a really big watch dog is in residence here…just saying in case you get any ideas…) So lets see, besides eating it right out of the jar…we’ve put it on our tender and tasty Cheddar Scallion Scones that I just posted about, we topped some deviled eggs with a dollop of that bacon-y goodness, we put it on burgers, we put it on egg breakfast biscuits. I tell you the possibilities are endless! Make up a batch for yourself and let your imagination run wild. You will not be disappointed!

Bourbon Bacon Jam

yield: Two 8 ounce jars

recipe from: Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup sweet bourbon or brandy
  • 2/3 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar (I didn’t have this, so just used 4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Fry bacon on medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pot, add butter and melt.

Add onion, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add shallot, garlic and spices and sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Season with pepper.

Return the bacon to the pot and stir until well combined.

Pour the bourbon/brandy into the bacon mixture and cook the liquid down for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Skim off any fat/grease that has formed at the top and discard.

Pour the mixture into a food processor and process until desired consistency is achieved.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, until ready to use. Will last for up to one month (as if any of that bacon jam will be left around for 1 month. Ha!)

Enjoy!


Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 30, 2011

That’s right! Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies!!! My husband had scheduled a band rehearsal a week or so ago. He plays in several different groups and the folks from this ensemble hadn’t been here to play in quite some time. I wanted to whip up some sort of treat for the guys. Jay assured me that the Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies were the way to go. He was right. They were a big hit! In fact, I think these chocolate chip cookies are the best I’ve ever had, without the bacon. When you add that great, savory, salty bacon flavour to the sweet, chocolaty cookie….watch out! Perfection!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe from The Craving Chronicles

makes 52 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, at least 60 percent cacao content
  • 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, chopped

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating completely after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce mixer to lowest speed and carefully add flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 – 36 hours, up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, set dough out at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

When dough has warmed enough to be pliable but not too soft, fold in chopped bacon. Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, measure cookies out on a baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time, 15-20 minutes or until edges are starting to brown. Cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


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