Tonight I hope to make my Nana proud while also providing a yummy alternative to you, my fellow Springdellians, in which to use your fresh Springdell kielbasa. This is a newer item to the Springdell share box and I am looking forward to trying it!
I have fond memories of visiting my Nan’s house in my youth, and of helping her to make homemade kielbasa. She has this very cool little tool that has been passed down through the generations- a kielbasa stuffer fashioned from the neck of a very old vodka (we think) bottle. The glass is smooth and worn down as if it had tumbled in the ocean for some time.
The lip of the bottle is the perfect size to wrap a hog casing around, while the neck funnels in such a way that it allows the meat to pass through and into the casing with ergonomic precision. Tonight, the good folks over at Blood Farm have prepared our kielbasa, so we can move right on to the next step of cooking it!
The way that my family historically enjoys kielbasa is in a traditional boiled dinner, coupled with boiled cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. I wanted to try something new, so I’m preparing it three different ways and we’ll have ourselves a little taste test.
Fresh kielbasa can be tricky to cook evenly, it is easy to overcook and to split it. Popping it directly on the grill, baking dish, or in a pan can lead to overcooking on the outside while the inside remains uncooked or undercooked. I’ve been taught that a very gentle simmer is the way to go. I try to keep the water about 180 degrees, just below boiling, for about 30 minutes, and then I start checking the kielbasa with a meat thermometer until it registers 165. The kielbasa is then ready to eat as-is, or you can dress it up from there.
I tossed a few of the slices quickly with some olive oil just before serving and left them otherwise plain, just so the intended taste could shine through. It was very good! I must admit I’m a sucker for a bit of sweetness, so I thought I’d try a couple of glazes on the two remaining plates.
For the second batch, I went with a “party style” kielbasa, which I warmed and glazed with an combo of ketchup and local boysenberry jelly. (The way I’ve seen it made is with grape jelly, but I didn’t have any on hand so I got a little creative). It was also very good!
The winning plate for this evening’s taste test was the plate on the right. It started with the cooked kielbasa in the sauté pan with the oil. I added a bit of white wine (about 1/2 cup) and as it began to reduce I added about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a few squirts of dijon mustard. I stirred and simmered until the wine began to reduce and the sauce thickened some, and that’s all there was to it! Our only complaint was that there was not more to devour.
For side dishes we had Honey Orange Carrots and Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans, two recipes that I’ll be sharing in the future when the fresh herbs are plentiful again.
How are you enjoying your kielbasa?