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Dublin Coddle and Brown Soda Bread

Dublin Coddle `Boyle: Breakfast! Well, they can keep their breakfast for me. Not if they went down on their bended knees would I take it - I'll show them I've a little spirit left in me still! (He goes over to the press, takes out a plate and looks at it) Sassige! Well, let her keep her sassige. (He returns to the fire, takes up the teapot and gives a gentle shake.) The tea's wet right enough.' -- Juno and the Paycock (Sean O'Casey)

Sausages of excellent quality are vital to making a good coddle. Coddle is indigenous to Dublin, and quite a few pubs serve it as a lunchtime dish.

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3 large onions

3-4 large potatoes, peeled

Handful of chopped fresh parsley

1 lb. bacon, fried, drained, and crumbled

1 lb. good meaty sausages

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Chop the onions. Slice the potatoes into thin rounds. Place onions in a heavy casserole and layer with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

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Add 2 cups of water, cover, and cook in a 250 degrees F. oven for 3 to 4 hours. If you prefer, remove sausages and quickly brown them before serving. Serve with boiled cabbage and carrots.

Serves 6.

Brown Soda Bread

`The carts were big and box-like, filled with double rows of shallow trays on which rested row after row of steaming loaves... Underneath a deep deep drawer, going the whole length of the cart, filled with lovely white an' brown squares, soda squares, currant squares, and brown loaves, covered with their shining golden crust...' -- The Street Sings (Sean O'Casey)

3 cups stone-ground, whole-wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1-1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough, firm enough to hold its shape. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 3 minutes. Form into a round loaf and place on a buttered cookie sheet. Cut a cross on the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when rapped with a wooden spoon. Allow the loaf to cool before slicing. This bread is especially good thinly sliced, toasted and served unsalted butter.