Traditional Foodstuffs

There are three main types of soup: pureed soup, broth, and chunky casseroles such as Dublin coddle, lamb stew and seafood chowder. Soups are made with a variety of ingredients and are often host to mixed vegetables, herbs, nuts, meat, fish and grains.

Of course, a recurring feature when looking at traditional Irish cookery is the potato. Potatoes were widely used as the base ingredient for soups, a tradition that continues to this day. They were also an important part of the Irish diet during the famine, when food was very scarce. Many other ingredients, which grew wild in an impoverished Ireland, were added to soups. Nettles, for example, were a very important ingredient as they have a high iron content and helped to alleviate hunger.

Regional variations

Early oatmeal broths in coastal areas were often flavoured with seaweed such as laver, dulse and carrageen. Today, carrageen continues to be used extensively in desserts as a thickening agent; it is also used as a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatine.

There are many different regional variations when it comes to the topic of soups and broths, but perhaps the most famous is the traditional Dublin coddle. This traditional stew is made simply by cooking bacon, sausages, potatoes and onions in a light stock, and seasoning with salt and pepper. It is said that Dublin coddle was traditionally made on pay-day in many homes and left simmering on the stove, to be enjoyed by the man of the house when he came in from the pub.


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