Showing posts with label hoska. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hoska. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fresh Polish Sausage and Sauerkraut

I live in the Chicago area, where it’s easy to find great Polish food, but without a doubt the very, very best Polish food always showed up on holiday tables at my house, my aunt’s and my Busia’s (grandmother’s). To this day I swoon at the sight of golabki, (ga-LOOM- key -- stuffed cabbage rolls in a tomato sauce), hoska bread (egg twist with golden raisins), and what we fondly refer to in this house as “dusty noodle soup.”

In my last post I mentioned that Thanksgiving was always our holiday growing up. My mom took it over when she and my dad got married. In addition to serving the traditional turkey, her family stuffing (ooh, yum!) and all the fabulous side dishes you might expect to enjoy on Thanksgiving, my mom—whose mother came from Luxembourg and whose father was French-Belgian—bravely attempted to prepare fresh Polish Sausage and sauerkraut.

Her process—simple, yet delicious—is the same one I follow these days when I make the Polish Sausage and sauerkraut for the Thanksgiving feast at my brother’s house. It’s pretty fabulous and even though she didn’t care for it herself, my mom truly made the best Polish Sausage, ever.

Polish sausage is known as kielbasa (keel-bassa) and that’s what we always called it. Most folks recognize kielbasa as the red, smoked variety. I prefer the fresh, also known as kielbasa biala.

This photo is from the Polana website. I usually pick up my sausage from a local Polish-owned deli, but after perusing the Polana site... I'm sorely tempted to give them a try.

Preparing the fresh version is easy, and it was only after I got married that I realized my non-Polish mom had added an extra step—one that makes all the difference.

As healthy recipes go, this one is NOT

For a big feast…

The day before: Place 5 - 7 lbs of fresh Polish Sausage in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the sausage simmers for a little while. Say, about 25 minutes. Remove from the water and cut into serving-size pieces. Don’t worry if the sausage is still pink, you’re not finished cooking yet. Place all the pieces in a very large bowl and refrigerate.

On the “feast” day – cut up bacon slices into small pieces and fry them up in another deep Dutch oven. When they’re crisp and sizzling in grease, add three jars/cans of prepared sauerkraut (kapusta). Trust me, the store-bought versions are pretty excellent. I prefer Frank’s Polish Style with Caraway. Mix the bacon, grease, and kraut well and keep it hot until ready to serve.

Here’s the extra step: About a half hour before serving, melt a little Crisco in a very, very big frying pan. (We have a specific Polish Sausage pan.) Add your serving-size pieces of sausage. Keep the heat on medium and keep stirring the sausages (watch out, they like to bounce out!) until the pink is all cooked away, and the casings start to brown.

Most folks serve the sausage with the kraut, but we prefer to keep them in separate bowls. There are quite a few of us who enjoy mixing our kraut with our mashed potatoes.

If you have any fresh horseradish on hand… bring it out!

My personal pics aren’t here because I won’t make this until Wednesday this week, but I can’t wait. Getting hungry already!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!!
Hugs to all,
My White House Chef Mystery series includes State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

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