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Aug 5, 2012 12:09 PM

Red beans question...

I was looking at a cookbook the other day and came across a recipe for red beans that called for using kielbasa as an ingredient. I've always used a good smoked sausage or a ham hock in mine and have never even seen them made with anything else. I thought that kielbasa would be kind of non-authentic. But then, I don't live in the area so who am I to judge?

My question is- does anyone in New Orleans ever use kielbasa in their red beans?

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  1. If every grocery in town but one was closed down and the remaining one only had kielbasa, I guess I'd use it then...

    1. I'm a proud kielbasa eater, thanks to my Eastern European heritage, so I'm more flexible than most. Some kielbasa is smoked, and there isn't much difference between it and the generically labeled smoked sausage in the refrigerated case at any grocery. Red beans taste best, though, with the types of sausage traditionally used in the dish--sausage that is usually spicier than kielbasa and that is plentiful in this area.

      Besides, after five years of searching, I would argue that there is no decent kielbasa to be found in New Orleans [except the sandwich at Dat Dog].

      1. Thanks for the answers! I've always thought that the sausage needed to be coarser than kielbasa. Those things seem to have the same consistency as a hot dog. I love hot dogs but don't want 'em in my beans!

        Guess I won't be pushing anyone to nab this cookbook!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Clarkafella

          Kilelbasa is a Polish generic term for sausage. I'm attaching a link to a Polish restaurant with a store next door. I'll summarize for those that don't want to read it, but the commercial stuff sold in the US is junk and bears no resemblance to real Poilish sausage. The type in the article is podwelaska, a meaty sausage, not the soft mushy hot dog stuff. My granparents are from Poland and these folks are 100 percent from the old country. If you're ever in Houston try Polonia restaurant and the store next door, with an amazing variety of sausages and Polish food. It's five minutes off I10 on the westside.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            You are right to refer to most US kielbasa as "junk." I've had the real thing in Eastern Europe and it is good stuff. Russia, which gets a bad knock on food tradition (at least in this country) has all manner of wonderful smoked meats/sausage.

            Ordinary smoked sausage at the Albertson's or Kroger or you-name-it mega store, is not intersting enough for RB&R. Hungry Celeste is, as always, right when she remarks that many people don;t cook the sausage into the concoction: I do both..add some to it (along with a ham hock or some other pork item, and then add andouille/sausage about thirty minutes before the finish.

        2. Hillshire Farms and Oscar Mayer both make a smoked sausage that's widely available outside Louisiana. It'll do just fine in a pinch.

          1. Polish Sausage aka Kielbasa really isn't that different than your regular grocery store smoked sausage (like Hillshire Farms). It's greasier and not as spicy as local sausage, but it'll do if you up the spices in the rest of the dish. We used it frequently in gumbo and jambalaya when we moved to the Midwest and it was fine....renders well to sautee the veggies in for sure!

            1 Reply
            1. re: jes7o

              Actually, I'll politely disagree. Comparing grocery store Kielbasa to the real Polish stuff (see my post above,) is like comparing Louisiana crawfish to California crawfish, or horror of horrors, Chinese.