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Kielbasa and sauerkraut -- what do I do now?

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I just bought a couple of lbs of kielbasa and fresh sauerkraut from Eagle Provisions, a Polish deli in Brooklyn. I'm looking for a straightforward, authentic way to prepare them. A search on the internet comes up with so many varied recipes I'm having analysis paralysis. Help! TIA.

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  1. i simply brown off the kielbasa in a skillet and dump the sauerkraut on top, cover and simmer, allowing the sausage to steam in the delicious kraut. Serve with potatoes (boiled or mashed, whichever you prefer) and applesauce or sautee'd apples. Cornbread goes well with all this as well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SweetPhyl

      This is exactly what I had for supper tonight! (Although I had homemade bratwurst, not kilbasa, and served it with fried potatoes, not boiled - so maybe it's not exactly what I had, but close enough...)
      Most of the other suggestions below are expanding on the technique, but it's all pretty much the same basic idea.

      1. re: froddard

        When I make this, I put the sauerkraut on top of the mashed potatoes - it's so good, don't knock it until you try it.

      2. re: SweetPhyl

        Yes, this. My grandmother also used to top with dumplings (the fluffy ones, like for chicken and dumplings). Served with potatoes fried in bacon fat. Farm cooks love their starches!

      3. Oops! Don't forget the horseradish mustard for dipping!

        3 Replies
        1. re: SweetPhyl

          I think I'd make a German potato salad to go with it if the weather is warm. I love sausage or ribs and kraut with mashed potatoes in the winter. You might add some beer to that skillet for simmering the sausage and kraut and chill some to drink alongside.

          1. re: Candy

            Or a nice young German or Austrian white wine instead of beer for the cooking and drinking is good too.

            As a slightly more elaborate version of SweetPhyl's suggestion, I'd brown the sausage in some added fat, could be oil or lard or whatever, and then take it out. Drain the kraut and squeeze it fairly dry, and toss it in the hot oily residue over medium-high heat until it's beginning to steam, then put the sausages back in, pour in about 3/4 cup of beer or wine, put the lid on, turn the heat down, and let it simmer for about half an hour. And unless it was 100º in the shade I think I'd do boiled or mashed potatoes anyway, but I'm that kind of guy...

            1. re: Will Owen

              Update: now that I have a gas grill, I've gotten into the habit of using that to brown any kind of sausage I'm going to braise. It may or may not get rid of some fat - it certainly doesn't add any! - but I don't frankly care about that. What I like is that the skin gets nicely crisp and the flavors are intensified.

        2. My dad used to do kielbasa, cabbage, and peeled potatoes. Fill pot with water and cook until potatoes are soft but not mushy. We called this "kielbasa and cabbage" and my dad would sometimes put kraut and mustard on top of the kielbasa when we ate it. Also, drain the water and just eat the main stuff. As a kid, I'd mush up the potato w/butter and eat the kielbasa and force down the cabbage to get dessert. Happen to wish i had a bit of this right now as an adult.

          1 Reply
          1. re: amyvc

            I used to get that rope-style cooked "kielbasa" (I put it in quotes because it's really just Industrial Sausage) and stack peeled potatoes, then shredded cabbage, then cut-up sausage in a steamer, with plenty of salt and pepper over both the potatoes and cabbage. In less than half an hour I had some pretty good, hearty Prole Food - nobody's gourmet treat, but cheap and good.

          2. My mom would add a little brown sugar, an apple and some finely chopped cabbage to soften the taste of the kraut. Too strong for us kids. I want some, now...delicious.

            1. Well, as one might suspect, I love kraut and kielbasa (or any sausage), but with plain rice!

              1. Brown, beer, braise, sauerkraut, braise. Serve.
                I add sliced apples to cut the pucker.

                And, I'm assumng you bought smoked kielbasa and not fresh.

                2 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  I'm not sure which I bought. It was lying on top of the fridge section, so I'm guessing smoked, but it's not hard or anything. Hmmm. How can I figure that out?

                  1. re: vvv03

                    Fresh will be raw, smoked isn't.

                2. My dad always used to bring home wonderful fresh(not smoked) kielbasas from these neighborhood Polish butchers in Perth Amboy, NJ back in the 1960's and early 1970's. He'd always bring home with it a loaf of fresh baked Jewish rye. Either my dad or grandmother would cook it(they're both Hungarian) and they did it the simplest possible way. They just steam the kielbasa, canned sauerkraut, sliced onions, and cut up potatoes together, with a little added water and caraway seed, until the potatoes and onions were cooked. It was then brought to the table in the pot. On the side were the fresh baked Jewish rye and unsalted butter.

                  I've tweaked the recipe over the years to my own liking but it's still pretty simple. First I brown the kielbasa in a large pan along with sliced onions, apples and/or pears and caraway seed. Then I'll add the kraut, a bottle of good medium-bodied beer, some white wine and par-boiled red and white potatoes. Then bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are finished cooking.

                  Now it's ready to be eaten and enjoyed with more of the good beer(cold), fresh baked Jewish rye, sweet butter and condiment dishes of hot horseradish, mustard and sour cream.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: 2chez mike

                    Where do you get the fresh baked Jewish rye bread?

                    1. re: MARISKANY

                      Well, that was in NJ a long time ago. Some of the Jewish bakeries in our area back then were Guttenplan's, Friedman's and Kalman's. I don't know if they're even in existence anymore.

                      I'm in Hollywood, CA now and there are several good local Jewish bakeries. But It's hard to find good fresh kielbasa here like I remember it. Sometime Jon's Market will stock Gaiser's(from Union, NJ) kielbasa, and Boar's Head makes a decent one, too.

                      1. re: MARISKANY

                        In Sayreville, across the river from Perth Amboy. Royal Bakery on Washington Rd. in Parlin. Run by Poles.

                      2. re: 2chez mike

                        same neighborhood. same food. same good memories.
                        and i'm on the west side of los angeles now...so again--same neighborhood. check out the sausages at lindy & grundy. also huntington meats at the farmers market at fairfax. and there's a place on pico called the sausage kitchen that i hear good things about. but although there is some great bread here, i haven't found great rye bread like my grandmother would buy back east in the old days.

                        1. re: perk

                          We used to get great onion rye at Webys bakery on Ventura Blvd. just off Laurel Canyon in Studio City. Don't know if it's still there - we've been in nowhere, nc for 25 years.

                      3. my mom adds beer and caraway seeds to the kraut. very good!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lrbarbie

                          I was going to say caraway seeds as well. Simple is best.

                        2. Slice kielbasa into bite sized circles and very slow braise in dark beer with kraut for about 2 hours. Can do stovetop or in oven. Or you can do in a slow cooker on whatever setting matches with how soon you'd like to eat. It's especially good if you add in some spicy kielbasa.

                          1. I still get kolbasa home made from the church in which I grew up. I make it Russian style. rinse the kraut, add carrot coins, sliced onion and caraway seed. Place a rack of spare ribs in the middle of the kraut and bake covered. Meanwhile braise the kolbasa and then take the lid off the kraut. place the kolbasa and brown on top of the kraut.
                            Serve w./ mashed potatoes topped w/ Kapusta (kraut) juice, apple sauce, horse radish and mustard. Oh yes, don't forget dobre pivo (good beer) It was the first meal my son asked for upon returning from a year in Costa Rica.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              Dang, boy, you done made me sorry I'm in sunny SoCal and it's hot out! I am cutting/pasting your letter right into my recipe file. Maybe it'll be cool enough by November...

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                We went out to the garden this evening and covered our crops w/ sheets of plastic to protect them from the frost; goin' into the 20's tonight. Got 36 cabbage plants and the tomatoes are still green.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  As hot as it's been down here in SoCal the past couple of weeks I went ahead and made a pot of kielbasa, kraut and potatoes anyway. Just had to have it. Had it two nights in a row. Now I think I'm going to make a white lima bean soup and add the last of the kielbasa to it.

                                  Sometimes I'll even make a slow cooked beef stew or pot roast when it's 95 degrees out, should my tastebuds dictate. My wife thinks I'm nuts. :)

                                2. re: Passadumkeg

                                  I use red potatoes, horshradish and mustard and pretty much everything else. Nice!!

                                3. Serve this meal with sautéed cabbage and new potatoes.


                                  1 C. brown sugar
                                  6 Tbs. German style or hot (horseradish) style mustard
                                  1 small sweet onion, sliced as thin as possible
                                  2 lbs. smoked kielb.asa

                                  Sauté the sliced onion in a tiny amount of olive oil drizzled in a non-stick skillet until it's lightly browned and soft. Add to the crockpot with the brown sugar and mustard. Cut the kielb.asa into one inch pieces and add to the crockpot. Stir to combine all. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally. Notes: Buy a good brand of kielb.asa or it will be pretty greasy. Serve with sautéed cabbage, boiled new potatoes and bread or rolls.

                                  Yield: 6 Servings.

                                  1. An old post that has been brought back to life. So too late for the OP (I hope ... unless they bout A LOT of kielbasa and kraut) ...

                                    Add dried Polish mushrooms to the kraut/kielbasa ... the flavor just about makes me crazy with its wonderfulness. Lacking Polish mushrooms, dried porcinis will do. Haven't tried any other dried mushroom that works as well. Shitakes are too mild to hold up to the other bold flavors.

                                    Just boil some water. Add dried mushrooms for about 20 minutes to rehydrate. Rinse. Add mushrooms too kraut/kielbasa.

                                    My mom would just throw the mushrooms dry in the pot without rehydrating and let the pot liquids do the work. This probably has more flavor. I get a little too paranoid about the mushrooms having dirt or something and prefer to clean them a bit.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: rworange

                                      Where do you get dried Polish mushrooms? I've never heard of them.

                                      1. re: 2chez mike

                                        Any Eastern European market/deli should carry them. Packaged in cellophane bags just like the dried mushrooms at Whole Foods.

                                        If you are ever in SF, Seakor Polish deli specializes in them. Instead of little plastic bags they have big glass jars with over a half dozen varieties. They also have uber-expensive dried strings hanging from the ceiling ($100 a string). I haven't sprung for one of those yet.

                                        If you find something similar ask if you can take a whiff. There should be an intoxicating smell, more intense than a dried porcini. The more beautiful the aroma the more delicious the flavor.

                                        1. re: 2chez mike

                                          Biologically speaking, the treasured dried Eastern European mushrooms discussed here are genetically identical to porcini mushrooms. Most people don't know that Sacramento is heaven for Eastern European foodstuffs. We have nearly 2 dozen Russian/Ukrainian grocery stores in the immediate area. I have found dried mushrooms here identical in taste to the ones my mom used to import from Poland, and they are labeled porcini on the English-language part of the label. I do agree that the imported ones taste better, and it must be the terroir, but the Eastern European-grown ones taste richer than the Italian ones, which in turn taste richer than the domestic ones.

                                          1. re: jerryd916

                                            That should be true. However, when I first moved to SF I tried subsituting dried porcinis and it just was not even close. One of the mushroom vendors also said there's a difference. It is difficult to believe it is just a matter of location.

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              My grandparents were from Poland and they used to have family still there ship them dried mushrooms which they in turn would ship to my mom. They may be genetically like a porcini - but I find the taste to be very different.

                                              This whole thread has me plotting how I can find my way to the Polish deli/meat market down town some time soon....


                                        2. re: rworange

                                          Mushrooms? YUCK sorry ... I'm sure it is good. Not just what I am used to. I love shrooms.

                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                            Dried musrooms are a totally different thing from fresh mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms ... yes, yuck. Dried mushrooms, ... not the same.

                                        3. I like to toss it in a pot cut up with the kraut and add chunks of apples and simmer..yummy

                                          1. My personal suggestion. If you have a really good sausage, please ignore any suggestion of slicing it thin. Cut it into individual personal servings if you wish (about 6 inches), prong with a fork so the casing won't split ,and then cook however as suggested on this thread.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: DockPotato

                                              I prefer cooking them whole and slicing off only what's needed just before serving.

                                              1. re: 2chez mike

                                                I second the whole sausage. While you loose some of the soup flavor, it keeps the sausage more juicy.

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  FYI don't slice. I cook it whole too.

                                            2. May be a dupe my apologies. Saute onions and sausage in a little butter and olive oil, just a bit. I add quartered or diced potatoes red skin ... skins on kraut, 1 good dark beer, 1/4 cup good apple cider, some caraway, just a teaspoon. Salt and pepper and cook. dovered and just let cook. Carrots baby or cut ones are fine too. I like a horshradish mustard sauce, applesauce etc. I;m sure a repeat but amazing.

                                              1. My mom used to make it with rinsed sauerkraut and butter beans. YUM! We added a few pearl onions and the dark beer this weekende.... even better!

                                                1. I like to slice the kielbasa length wise , and cook it on the grill.

                                                  1. my husbands grandmother taught me an awesome hungarian recipe she used to make for her husband.

                                                    drain your sauerkraut and soak it in ice water for about 30 min to take off some of the bite. slice the kielbasa and half of a yellow onion into 1/4 in thick slices and brown in a skillet. i like to throw some mushrooms in there, but it's optional :P add the sauerkraut to the pan and saute with the sausage and onion. add 8 oz sour cream, 2 tsps paprika, salt and pepper to taste. let it cook and thicken for about 10 minutes or until it's heated through, stirring occasionally. tadaa! one pan meal :)

                                                    the sour cream makes it sound weird but it tastes so awesome! my husband hates both sauerkraut and sour cream but he loves this lol

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: mikeysmom

                                                      Thank you! This is the first time I have been able to eat sauerkraut and actually like it. My husband loves it. Sauerkraut is one I've made for him but it's never been edible in my opinion, so I don't make it often. Your recipe is great find. Really excellent ! grandmas recipe knows best! thank you!!!!!

                                                    2. I love kielbasa and sauerkraut or pork chops or loin and sauerkraut. However, if the kraut is too sour, it puts me off. So I use a good kraut but rinse it. Then I mix with it onions and apple slices and use apple juice or white wine or real cider to moisten it. I brown the sausages or pork and put the kraut over them and bake them. I love it with good pan fried potatoes.

                                                      1. Saute the kielbasa slowly in butter in one pan. Saute slice onion in butter in another, add drained kraut, add dill seed, and cook until onions/kraut browns up just a bit. Can add bacon to the kraut. Kielbasa is done when shiny and golden brown -- the skin should be near-crispy. Serve with boiled potatoes.

                                                          1. 5 pounds spare ribs or beef short ribs (Both come out the same)
                                                            2 pounds dried beans (navy, pinto, black, red, etc)
                                                            2 cans or jars of Sauerkraut
                                                            1 Gallon water
                                                            Put all ingredients in a stock pot, cover, and cook overnight at the lowest temperature you have available. If concerned about the fat content, let cool, chill, and spoon off the hardened fat. reheat, serve, and enjoy.