My name is James and I have a confession to make. Even though I’m a born and bred Dubliner, I have never tried coddle. A dish so synonymous with my home city yet I’ve never had the pleasure of having it pass my lips and tickle my taste buds. All I can do is beg for forgiveness.
With coddle firmly coming back in the national consciousness a while back after it trended on Twitter and even caught the attention of the Rubberbandits, I decided that now was the time to put that particular shame to bed and sample the traditional Dublin dish for lunch.
Off I headed to the Hairy Lemon on Stephen Street, a place which is well known for its coddle and whose menu describes the dish as thus:
I placed my order and waited in anticipation for the mysterious meal I was about to be served. I listened as North American tourists enquired about the dish and were told that they wouldn’t be disappointed by trying the liquid-based delicacy.
When my dish arrived the server asked me when was the last time I had nice coddle and despite my best efforts the words spilled out of my mouth that it was my first time. As redness began to fill up my cheeks I could at least take solace in the fact that I will never have to say that again.
I given a choice of mashed potatoes or chips to go along with the main dish and in keeping with the traditional tone I went for the former. My first impressions when the coddle landed on my table was how unusual it looked. I’m more used to seeing sausages served from the grill or the frying pan and not boiled as is the way with coddle.
For a lot of people, it seems to be the mushy look of the bangers that puts them off but I can assure you, this shouldn’t act as a deterrent. Anyway, there was nothing left to do but dive in and see what all the fuss was about.
The verdict? As I began to slurp the broth and tuck into the sausages and boiled potatoes that were before me I began to get an idea of what all the fuss is about. While the weather in Dublin hasn’t exactly reached the depths of winter just yet, I did begin to imagine the pleasure of enjoying a coddle on a cold December day in a cosy city pub such as the Hairy Lemon.
I entered the pub as a complete coddle novice and what followed was 20 minutes of heaven as I began to realise what I’d been missing all these years. I’ve sampled local delicacies in Asia, South America and all over Europe and having now tasted coddle it’s baffling that this Dublin delight isn’t more famous around the globe.
A side of delicious brown bread was perfect for soakage while the mashed potatoes were the best I’ve ever had in Dublin and will definitely be ordered alongside whatever dish I choose on my next visit.
I was told that the recipe was an original from the grandmother of one of the staff who developed it in Sheriff Street and Finglas, accounting for the true authenticity of it.
So, there we are. I can now say with pride that I’ve lost my coddle virginity. Are there any other venues in Dublin where I can put my new expertise to the test? Be sure to let me know.