Finding something different to make for St. Patrick’s Day isn’t easy when you’ve never been to Ireland and have no idea how authentic any of the dishes that we Americans think of as Irish actually are. I set out looking for something different from the Corned “Beef” and Cabbage I’d made last year, something that hadn’t already been made vegan a dozen times before like Colcannon, and finally settled on Bangers and Mash, a favorite in Irish pubs in the United States. And then I saw this: “An Irish Sausage is not a Banger.” According to this Irishman, sausages are called bangers in England, but not in Ireland (though I wonder if in these multicultural times the term hasn’t been adopted in at least some parts of Ireland).
So, it turns out that Bangers and Mash is not an Irish dish, and I really, really wanted an authentic Irish dish for the occasion. I already had my taste buds set on using Julie Hasson’s brilliant steamed sausages technique to make Irish Sausages (as I now knew they should properly be called), so I started looking for other recipes in which to use them and stumbled upon Coddle (it was actually mentioned in the article that disillusioned me about bangers, so I had to check it out). This simple stew looked like the perfect vehicle for my vegan sausages.
Coddle before cooking
Coddle contains a few standard ingredients–sausage, potatoes, onions, parsley, and bacon. Making it vegan just meant substituting vegan sausage for pork and leaving out the bacon, though to make up for the bacon flavor, I added a little Liquid Smoke to the broth. The coddle is then slow-cooked (or “coddled”) until the vegetables are tender; adding dark beer near the end increases the authenticity of the dish and deepens the flavor. (Don’t use Guinness, even though it’s traditional, because it isn’t vegan; check online sources for vegan beers.)
It’s simple, yes, but absolutely delicious–hot and filling and the very definition of “comfort food.”
Dublin Coddle with Vegan Sausages
- 4 Irish Fauxsages (see recipe below) or about 12 ounces of other vegan sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or prepared bouillon
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
- 3/4 cup dark beer (optional)
- Brown the “sausages” in a non-stick skillet. In a large Dutch oven with a heavy lid, layer the ingredients in this order: Half of the potatoes, Salt and pepper, Half of the onions, Half of the parsley, All of the Fauxsages, Remaining Potatoes, Salt and pepper, Remaining Onions, Remaining Parsley
- Mix the Liquid Smoke into the broth and pour it over all. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover tightly. Cook for about an hour, or until potatoes are very tender. Add the beer if you’re using it, and simmer for about 15 minutes more. Ladle into bowls and serve with Irish Soda Bread.
This could easily be cooked in a slow cooker; for best results, double the recipe for large crockpots and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Cooking time (duration): 90 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4
Makes 4 servings. Per serving (without beer): Calories (kcal); 4g Total Fat; (7% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 43g Carbohydrate; 0g Cholesterol; 589mg Sodium; 5g Fiber. Weight Watchers Flex Points=5.
With beer: 311 Calories (kcal); 4g Total Fat; (6% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 0g Cholesterol; 591mg Sodium; 5g Fiber. Weight Watchers Flex Points=6.
If you haven’t tried it yet, you have to make a batch of Julie’s Spicy Italian Vegetarian Sausages. The recipe is wonderful in its simplicity and its consistently delicious results. You can see for yourself how easy it is by watching Julie’s video. She’s even challenged people to put their own spins on the recipe, so if you do a Veg Blog Search, you’ll find dozens of different sausage variations on other blogs.
Since Irish sausages are mild and sweet, not spicy or smoky, for my Irish variation I completely changed the spices to reflect traditional Irish sausage recipes. Marjoram, ginger, and nutmeg are standard, but since gluten doesn’t have any flavor of its own, I needed to add a few non-traditional seasonings–sage and thyme–to build up a flavor base. Irish sausages typically contain bread crumbs as a binding agent, so I added some to mine, making them moister and a little less firm than Julie’s original recipe (a good thing, in my opinion, though how firm you like your sausage is a matter of personal taste!) They turned out the texture and color of cooked Gimme Lean, and I think they’d make a nice breakfast sausage, perhaps with just a touch of smoked paprika or Liquid Smoke.
Irish Fauxsages (Vegan Irish Sausages)
- 1 vegan bouillon cube (enough to flavor 2 cups water, see below)
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten (about 4.5 ounces or 127 grams)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds, ground
- 1 cup cool water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Dissolve the “beef” bouillon cube in 2 tablespoons of hot water and set aside to cool. Toast the piece of bread until medium-brown, and then put it into the food processor and pulse until it’s in fine crumbs.
- Put the bread crumbs into a large bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients, wheat gluten through flax seeds, stirring well to distribute the seasonings evenly. Mix the bouillon mixture with the cool water in a large measuring cup or bowl and add the garlic, cashew butter, and soy sauce. Whisk or blend with a hand blender until ingredients are well-distributed.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir to mix just until evenly moistened. Add a little more water if it seems too dry.
- Place a piece of aluminum foil on the counter, and scoop 1/2 cup of gluten mixture onto it. Shape into a rough tube, fold the bottom edge of the foil over the gluten, and roll up. Roll the tube back and forth, pressing lightly with your hands, to give it an even shape, and then twist the ends closed. Repeat with the remaining gluten to form 5 sausages.
- Place all the sausages in the top of a steamer, cover, and steam for 35 minutes. Remove them from the heat and let cool until easy to handle. Fauxsages can then be used in recipes or eaten as-is. (I always eat one right away–just to check the quality, of course!)
In this recipe I used one cube of Edward & Sons’ Not-Beef Bouillon; it’s vegan, and one cube flavors 2 cups of liquid. Since I wanted the flavor to be a little stronger than normal bouillon, I used double the amount, so if you’re using another kind of bouillon or broth powder, I recommend using enough to flavor two cups of water.
Cooking time (duration): 45 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 5
Makes 5 sausages. Per sausage: 157 Calories (kcal); 4g Total Fat; (10% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 614mg Sodium; 2g Fiber. Weight Watchers Flex Points=3.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day…2009!