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St. Patrick’s Day Favorite: Dublin Coddle

img_20160317_142528.jpgDublin Coddle – a nourishing stew of sausage, potatoes, and bacon to warm you up.

I was looking for a new dish to try this St. Patrick’s Day, having thoroughly exhausted my usual corned beef hash in years past. Flipping through The Irish Pub, a relatively lightweight cookbook I found during the Borders bookstore liquidation, I came upon a recipe for Dublin Coddle, which sounded perfect for my cold, snowy St. Patrick’s day.

Looking at the simple ingredients, I was expecting to have to doctor this recipe up, but I was surprised at the delicious flavor. The heavy seasoning of black pepper during assembly really contributes to the personality of this dish.

The stew is essentially just sliced sausage, bacon, leeks, potatoes, and onions, with herbs and garlic tossed in for good measure. These are all layered in an oven-ready casserole dish after browning the onions and sausage and roasting the bacon, covered with chicken stock or water, and braised. I strongly suggest chicken stock, as even though the ingredients will impart wonderful flavor, the boost of a good, gently seasoned stock will do wonders.

As with most recipes here, my measurements are more ballpark than precise. What’s most import is to base your proportions on your casserole dish. Eye your baking dish, and visualize what it will take to make layers with these ingredients:

  • Good quality pork sausages, bratwurst-sized (and style). I used bockwurst.
  • Diced onions, enough to line the bottom of your casserole dish
  • Thick-cut bacon, 5 to 10 slices
  • Rough-chopped starchy potatoes, such as Russet
  • Leek green tops, coarsely chopped
  • Ground black pepper
  • A few garlic cloves, chopped
  • Herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, and dill, finely chopped
  • Lightly seasoned chicken stock, at least 5-6 cups (enough to cover ingredients)
  • An oven-proof casserole dish with a lid (or foil), and pans for browning of ingredients

Directions

  1.  Brown your sausages on both sides in a pan. Allow to cool, slice width-wise into roughly 1-inch pieces, and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and roast your bacon until cooked. Set aside bacon fat for later, do not discard. Allow bacon to cool, and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
  3. Dice your onions. On the stovetop, saute the onions in some of your saved bacon fat until tender. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with the sauteed onions. Season with black pepper.
  4. Add up to a third or half of your chopped bacon in a new layer. Save the rest as a garnish for the end.
  5. Add the sliced sausages as the next layer in the casserole dish. Season with black pepper as well.
  6. Add the coarsely-chopped leek green tops, the diced garlic, and finely chopped herbs as the next layer.
  7. For the final layer, cover with a layer of roughly-chopped starchy potatoes. Season with black pepper.
  8. Pour enough chicken stock to cover all ingredients. Braise uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 250 degrees, cover casserole and braise until the potatoes are tender and have thickened the stew with their starch.
  9. Remove from oven, stir well, salt to taste, and cover the stew with a garnish of the remaining chopped bacon.

img_20160317_142405.jpgMy pot of Dublin Coddle, ready for a cold day.

First Bloody Mary.

12006107_10206889634176701_8572738305941977460_nMy First Bloody Mary Recipe

I’ve probably lost the last of any virtuous qualities, because when I opened my eyes this morning, my first thought was, “I should fry some bacon so I can try out some Bloody Mary recipes.” So here’s my first homemade Bloody Mary, garnished with bacon, heirloom tomato, shrimp and a motherfuckin’ fried oyster. Breakfast is served.

Coquilles St. Jacques & a Ramos Fizz

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Coquilles St. Jacques & a Ramos Fizz

Coquilles St Jacques (scallops gratined in cream and white wine). I had some egg whites left over, so I whipped up a Ramos Fizz, made famous in New Orleans and defined as follows in the 1946 Stork Club Bar Book: 2oz gin, juice of half a lemon, 1 oz cream, 1 egg white, and 2 dashes of orange flower water (substituted orange bitters) and topped with a little seltzer. Feeling very New Orleans lately.

Fruit Syrups for Cocktails.

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Homemade Berry Syrups

Fruit sale. Let’s make two syrups: Raspberry and blackberry, excellent for cocktails such as the Belmont (gin, cream, raspberry syrup). Quick recipe: 2 lbs of fruit in a quart of water, strain out fruit and toss, add 2 cups of sugar and boil it down to the thickness you want, skimming constantly. The color comes out very rich. I like to store it in old brandy bottles. Be sure to keep it in the fridge.

Grocery Shop Fails. How to Make a Frosty Martini.

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Grocery Mission: Fail

Grocery shop fails. Don’t mind my frosty martini. I’m baffled by how many accounts I’ve read of people, regular and celebrities alike, trying to invent new ways to make the coldest martini. Here’s how: Measure your vermouth and gin in two separate mixer glasses and stick in freezer for 20 minutes or a little longer – just under the freeze threshold of the vermouth. Mix together, stir gently and serve in a martini glass. Don’t James Bond shake, for heaven’s sake.

Crawfish and a Belmont.

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A bit of cajun crawfish and andouille sausage in reduced wine sauce and a creamy Belmont gin cocktail made with homemade raspberry syrup. The most I’ve cooked in a week. My fridge is a barren desert. My recipe for a Belmont: a shot of gin, 1/2 a shot of raspberry syrup and 1 shot of heavy whipping cream, shaken vigorously on ice and strained into a champagne coup.