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Apr 8, 2011 08:12 PM

Is there any traditional Kishka or Stuffed Derma in the US?

When I was a child I loved kishka. The casing was crisp, almost like fried chicken skin, the filling, mostly bread crumbs I assume, tasted of chicken fat and onion. It was a little larger than a hot dog, more like a polish sausage in size and served with a very tasty gravy. I know that cow's intestine is not a commonly available item at the supermarkets, but does anyone know if there is a source for kishka that comes close to the old product? I've had kishka from the big name delis in NY, but none of them come close.

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  1. april 2012
    can you say which Big-Name Delis you've visited. that would be helpful.
    just had a Kishke from Carnegie Deli last week; two fist-sized chunks for $15 [?], heated but not fried in a skillet and therefore no crispy outside; and served with a hideous boat of (pure-salt) gravy on the side. lucky for me, my lovely chinese waiter warned me against the gravy. took one home, and it freezes well.
    It was very like the old kishke that we got from the butcher back in the Bronx: nice burnt orange color, nicely peppery, grind was a bit finer; but less flavorful than I recall.
    the Carnegie feels much changed since my last visit in June of '10. A stranger I met in the VivB theatre said the same thing. was happier with my visit to Katz's and, as I recall, they do have Kishke on their menu. nice to know others enjoy an occasional Kishke.
    Art Schwartz has a recipe of his own devising, probably on his website.

    4 Replies
    1. re: fayga mindl

      I've been to Carnegie, Stage, 3rd Ave, Katz's, Ben's and many others in NY. I've been to Langer's in L.A. (GREAT Pastrami on homemade rye bread), Art's and Jerry's. I've been to just about every Jewish deli in the Boston and South Florida areas.

      The kishka I am talking about has not been made at most deli's (none that I know of) since the 60's. What I am describing is VERY different from what one finds at these delis today.

      Recently I heard about the Romanian Kosher Sausage Company on the north side of Chicago in Rogers Park. Unlike most delis, they use an edible natural casing. I'll have to try it sometime, but I am guessing that unless you use actual beef intestine and chicken fat, you won't get the flavor and crispiness that I remember from my childhood. The closest thing that I can imagine making these days is a chicken skin version, since beef intestine isn't sold at my local supermarket. Buy chicken necks and remove the uncooked skin, then stuff the skin with a moist flour and onion mixture (perhaps chicken fat, beef fat, paprika, matzo meal, seasonings) and stitch it closed before roasting it until the skin is crisp. It's not the same, but it is a truly delicious guilty pleasure.

      1. re: Buzzy2 grandmother made , what she called HELZEL....stuffed chicken necks with a Kishke type filling....Only she would boil them , let them cool , then crisp them up in a frying pan...I don't remember the exact reciepe, but I know she used some corn meal, flour, onions, chicken fat, salt and the way,,,,we always had these because my grandparents owned an egg farm in Lakewood, Plenty of chciken necks!

        1. re: PHREDDY

          PHREDDY, are you my child? Or, somehow we are related!

          My mother made helzel (sp?). I liked it. It was greasy and crispy, and the inside was as you describe. Perhaps it had some chopped heart, gizzard or liver in it? I remember that the inside was paste-y. The chicken neck skin popped as I bit into it.

          As I am thinking about this now, this would be good Fair Food today! It was so greasy and decadent, with no redemptive nutritional value!

          Although the two are sometimes confused, helzel and kishke are different.

          1. re: liu


            I don't think I am your child, because that would put you somewhere 90....but we could be related,. My grandmother came from what today is called the Ukraine, a city called L'viv....BTW helzel and kiske are similar in that you take a part of an animal and stuff it....but that is it...

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      1. I think Sarge's in NYC serves a traditional kishka.

        And isnt kishka one of those things that has 1,000 variations? Each Bubbe did it a bit differently.

        2 Replies
        1. re: AdamD

          not unless your family had a tradition of eating plastic wrapped stuffing......................

          No real cow intestine at Sarge's

        2. Look at online store of Bobak's, very traditional sausage merchant in Chicago. I think they also sell casings etc for making your own. See Bobak reviews on Chicago Yelp.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            Edible casings, including kosher versions, are definitely available and used to make modern day kishka. What is not (easily) available is the actual beef intestine that was used prior to about 1970. The difference between today's edible casings, which impart no flavor at all, and the old style beef intestine, is profound.

            1. re: Buzzy2

              Buzzy, did you go to bungalo colonies in the 60's in upstate NY?....there was a guy who was a butcher that came from NYC on the weekends and sold kishke....if you gave him an order the week before...

              1. re: Buzzy2

                Buzzy I am looking for edible kosher casings, do you know where they are sold? I would love to know. Thanks

                1. re: paprkutr

                  Try Empire Kosher in Williamsburg Brooklyn...I think they are on north 2nd street....

            2. our Kosher butcher in NW London still sells (but I don't live there any more :( .....) helzel and kishka stuffings, both glorious and peppery and full of schmaltz. Have not found any in the US sadly.

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