So besides Soda bread and farl, what did the Irish south of the Pale eat for main meals. The answer depends on location, location, location. Near the coast lines, protein was fish and shellfish made into stews and cakes, simple and fortifying and inland mutton, pork and sausages in broths and stews. The common factor seems to be simple ingredients, seasonal vegetables, potatoes and methods of cooking, notably boiling, stewing and maybe frying. I found a great online resource for traditional Irish recipes called YOUR IRISH.COM http://www.yourirish.com/food/ and among them was Coddle, dating back at least into the 18th century.

Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle

Most popular in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, this recipe is not for the faint hearted and has been appropriately described by some as heart attack in a bowl.

It’s rarely found outside of Dublin city but is still a popular meal served in some traditional Irish pubs around Dublin. To ‘coddle’ means to cook slowly or parboil and this dish of ham, sausages, onions and potatoes dates back to the 18th century.

Ingredients for cooking Dublin Coddle

1 ½ pints of water
8 thick slices of ham cut into chunks
8 pork sausages cut into thick slices
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
1 ½ lbs potatoes peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
2 heaped tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Method for cooking Dublin Coddle

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, then add the ham and sausages and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well, reserving the cooking liquid. Set oven to 300 degrees. Place the ham and sausages and chopped parsley and pour over just enough cooking liquid to cover. Cover with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper, put on the lid and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the liquid is greatly reduced and the vegetables cooked but not mushy.

Serve with the chopped parsley to garnish and hot buttered soda bread on a side plate. This dish serves 4-6 people.

You also find adding Guinness to the Coddle will give it that extra kick!

The fishing village of Claddagh

The fishing village of Claddagh

Of the three main cities in Ireland, Dublin, Shannon and Galway, The last was my favorite. On the West Coast, it had the flavor and feel that was most what I had expected in my mind. A thriving, bustling and artistic town, it was a far cry from the one of grinding poverty that one sees in pictures from the turn of the 20th century. At the tip of the city, near the Spanish gates is the neighborhood of Claddagh. Associated with the symbol of hands holding a heart with a crown on top, it was an isolated village. Now it’s nice buildings with a jewelry store where the original ring was made. I found these pictures which were part of a pictorial series from 1906 through 1913. They are interesting and fish was a way of life.

Fish vendor in traditional clothes

Fish vendor in traditional clothes

Claddagh 1905

Claddagh 1905

And a traditional meal made in the bastible was FISH PIE

INGREDIENTS
8 ½ fl oz/250 ml fish stock
8 ½ fl oz/250 ml milk + 2 tbsp for the potatoes
12 oz/350g asstd. fish pieces (see note below)***
1 bay leaf
750g warm, creamed, mashed potatoes
2 oz/ 55g butter
1 medium sized leek, the white, washed and finely sliced
2 oz/ 55g all purpose/plain flour
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Handful grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
PREPARATION

Serves 4

Heat the oven to 355 °F/180 °C
Pour the fish stock and milk into a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the fish pieces and bay leaf and poach for 5 mins. Remove the fish pieces with a slotted spoon and keep to one side. Reserve the liqueur.
Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook for 5 minutes until the leeks are soft.
Whilst still hot, add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Pour the fish liqueur into the pan and stir again, raise the temperature and cook for 3 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Turn the heat off. Remove the bay leaf. Add the fish, chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper. Leave to one side.
Place the fish and sauce into an ovenproof dish, cover with a thick layer of mashed potato fluffed up with a fork or for a more professional look, pipe from a piping bag and large nozzle.
Sprinkle with grated cheese if using.
Put the dish onto a baking sheet and cook in the center of the preheated oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling beneath the potatoes. Serve immediately.

***Either buy one type of fish (skinless and bones removed) and cut into bite-sized chunks. Or mix different fish and/or prawns together, for a pie though I would choose non-oily, fleshy fish such as cod, smoked haddock, coley, white fish.

http://britishfood.about.com/od/eorecipes/r/fishpie.htm

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