This old-school take on Irish stew layers pork sausage, bacon, onions, potatoes and stock to “coddle,” or slowly simmer.
For a more flavorful version of this dish that kept its elements intact, we crisped the bacon and browned the sausages to create flavorful bits (fond) in the pan. Sweating the onions and adding broth to the pan released the fond into the coddling liquid.
When poured over thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes arranged neatly on the bottom of a baking dish, it gently cooked them to a soft, creamy texture. A splash of cider vinegar helped cut the richness of the dish, while crisp bacon provided textural contrast.
1 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper
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4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 pounds bratwurst
2 onions, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Shingle potato slices in bottom of 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
- Cook bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy, 12 to 14 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Carefully add sausages to the now-empty skillet and cook until lightly browned on tops and bottoms, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet and return to medium heat. Add onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook until onions are softened, 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits.
- Add broth and vinegar, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a simmer. Carefully pour onion mixture over potatoes, spreading onions into an even layer.
- Place sausages, browned side up, on top of onions. Transfer to oven and bake until a paring knife inserted into potatoes meets little resistance, about 1 1/4 hours.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and reserved bacon. Serve.
- An equal weight of traditional Irish bangers can be substituted for the bratwurst. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.