Kielbasa is any polish sausage. It’s a blanket term that takes into account every type of sausage that exists in Poland. In North America, kielbasa is usually a u-shaped sausage that is made using either pork, beef, veal, or even chicken.
Kielbasas are packed with flavor and can be used in an infinite number of ways. Polish cuisine uses kielbasa in many rice, BBQ, and even some salad recipes.
So, what are the best ways to cook kielbasa? Kielbasa can be steamed, fried, cooked in a skillet, over a BBQ pit, and more. This sausage can be either diced, sliced, or used whole. Its unique U-shape makes it a great centerpiece for BBQ parties and can also be used to decorate other meat dishes.
Kielbasa can be found in many markets around the world and is also known as “Polish Sausage”. When on the hunt for it, keep an eye out for the unique elongated U-shape that makes it easy to spot in any grocery store.
Whether you’re smoking it or cooking it fresh, the sheer versatility of this delicious meat is fantastic and one of the biggest reasons why people in Poland are so crazy about it.
If you have been meaning to try this sausage then there is no time like right now to begin!
Keep reading to learn more about how you introduce kielbasa to your dishes:
Love, From Poland
Kielbasa hails from Poland, the land of meat dishes, and much like the rest of the world, this country is big on sausages as well.
The word kielbasa is taken straight from the Polish language and entered the English dictionary a long time ago.
This sausage has garnered quite a reputation over the centuries and has even found itself a place in Polish culture as well.
Its consumption is so widespread that there are literally kielbasa eating contests held around the USA and especially in Kansas City.
Given its unique shape, it is easily recognizable and can be cooked in a number of ways too.
Kielbasa is not one type of sausage, rather it refers to all types of sausages. You can think of the word kielbasa as “sausage”.
There are many, many varieties of this sausage and each has a slightly different sounding name, such as:
- Kielbasa Odesskie (beef-based)
- Kielbasa Wedzona, a popular smoked sausage known for its use in soups and stocks.
- Kabanos (pork-based thin and air-dried sausage)
- Kielbasa Biala, a sausage used in soups (white sausage)
- Kaszanka or kiszka, a blood sausage.
There are many more varieties available in countries like the USA, Canada, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, etc. Polish sausages have a more pronounced garlic flavor and also contain marjoram.
Kielbasa is known for its sheer variety and flavoring in Poland, and many popular types, like some of the ones listed above, are available in the USA as well.
Kielbasas doesn’t just come in one shape either, it is just that its distinct U-shape has become a marketing tool to identify the sausage in international markets.
It is available in multiple sizes and can also come in various thickness levels as well.
The sausage is available fresh and can also be smoked for a very delicious and umami-laden flavor. The use of this type of sausage is unlimited.
Just as you would use any other sausage, kielbasa can be incredibly versatile in the kitchen. The amazing part is that since it has its own distinct flavor, it can transform many dishes you already know and love.
We’ll discuss a few popular recipes below, but for now, let’s look at how these sausages are made and sold.
Sausages are a staple in Poland and you wouldn’t be surprised to find a typical household’s pantry to be stocked with multiple types of kielbasas.
Whether it’s cold cuts, thin, thick, or u-shaped sausages, kielbasas are available in multiple forms.
They are made with different types of proteins ranging from veils, beef, chicken, pork, or a combination of meat. Each type of kielbasa has a unique flavor and can be used in a range of recipes.
For example, the Kielbasa Biala, which is a white sausage, is widely used in soups and can also be used to make stock.
Ways To Cook Kielbasa
There are several ways that you can use to cook kielbasa. We’ll list some of the most used below:
- Stock And Soups
Kielbasa can be cooked by boiling the sausage whole. The best way to go about this would be to bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, where the water is visibly bubbling on the surface.
Kielbasa is usually made using processed meat so you don’t need to cook them for long, especially if you get a smoked kielbasa.
But, just to be on the safe side, we would recommend that you boil kielbasa for 10 to 15 minutes.
The sausage will change its color and become either darker or lighter depending on the type of kielbasa and the meat.
Once done, take the sausage out and let it cook. You can then use it by slicing it in thin or thick slices or by eating it as it is.
Baking kielbasa is easy. To start, preheat the oven for 15 minutes at its highest temperature.
In the meanwhile, remove any packaging from the sausage and place it on a baking sheet. Then, place the tray in the middle rack of your oven.
Set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about 10-12 minutes. You can flip the kielbasa over after the 7-minute mark.
Once done, the kielbasa will have had changed its color and may also reduce in size. Take out the tray and let it cool.
Additionally, you can also shift the tray closer to the heating element. To get a nice and even char, simply broil the kielbasa for about 5-8 minutes at the highest temperature.
Make sure that you’re nearby and have baking gloves on standby because the kielbasa may char quickly.
Lightly frying a kielbasa is the go-to method for many recipes that uses this amazing sausage.
To fry it, simply slice the kielbasa so that you get nice and thick slices. In a pan, either spray-on oil or you can also use butter for a more pronounced flavor.
Cook the kielbasa until it catches on a light brown color, flip it over and cook the other side as well. Additionally, you may even cook with a lid on to retain the moisture in the sausage.
Fired kielbasa can be used in a number of recipes. Our favorite is the spicy rice recipe you’ll discover (and devour) below.
Sliced and fried kielbasa can also be used in soups or as sides in many dishes.
If you want to retain the texture of this sausage then we highly recommend that you steam it.
Hot steam will break down the meat fibers in the kielbasa and will also make it very juicy. We recommend doing this with smoked kielbasa for an even more complex flavor.
Kielbasa can be steamed in a pot or by using a pressure cooker. We recommend steaming it for about 15-20 minutes at medium heat for the best results.
Stocks And Soups
A lot of different varieties of kielbasa can be used in stocks and soups. The best way to enjoy this sausage is to slowly cook it over 30-45 minutes in a pot with stock.
This will release all the flavor from the sausage and will also make it deliciously tender.
White kielbasa is one of the best choices for soups and stocks. We recommend slicing the sausage into bite sized pieces and then adding it to the soup.
Additionally, you can also fry the kielbasa and then add it to the soup to get that subtle caramelization flavor as well.
Easy Kielbasa Recipes
One of the things that people find challenging is when it comes to the use of kielbasa in recipes.
But, as discussed, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that kielbasa is very versatile and can be used in sautés, gravy, soups, and even rice recipes.
We’ll discuss a few popular ways that you can have kielbasa at home without breaking the bank or without exerting too much effort.
Kielbasa Sausage And Pepper
This recipe shows how easy it is to use kielbasa in a simple recipe with ingredients you probably already have on hand.
This dish is a mixture of peppers and kielbasa with some onions and herbs. It’s tasty, it’s filling, and it’s easy to whip up when you’re hungry.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 Yellow peppers
- 2 Green peppers
- 2 Orange peppers
- Kielbasa (sliced)
- Salt and pepper
To begin, cut all of the vegetables and onion in equal squares, you can do this by dicing them and tossing them in a bowl.
Run the vegetables under water to remove the seeds and then heat a pan, add some neutral oil or butter and toss in the vegetables.
The key here is to cook the vegetables over medium heat and to not let them overcook. You’re just looking to slightly heat them up so that they become juicy but remain firm.
Cook the vegetables for no more than 1-2 minutes and add the sliced kielbasa.
Add in salt and pepper to taste and cook everything for 5 minutes. You can also cook the kielbasa separately if you want it to caramelize but we recommend cooking everything together.
Dish out everything in a bowl and voila! This recipe is simple, healthy, and very convenient.
Spicy Rice And Kielbasa
Here’s another great recipe that is more like comfort food than anything else.
Spicy rice cooked in stock with kielbasa is one of the best combinations ever.
For this recipe you’ll need:
- 1 Large red pepper
- Any type of aromatic rice (1 cup)
- Stock of your choice (2 cups)
- Garlic (2 cloves)
- Salt (to taste)
- Whole pepper (1 tsp)
- Kielbasa (1 large)
- Onions (1, small)
- Smoked paprika (1.5 tsp)
To make this delicious recipe, start by slicing the red pepper, garlic, kielbasa, and onions. Heat a pan at about medium-high heat and add any neutral oil.
We recommend going with avocado oil for the results. It’s also a heart choice for those wanting to make a health-conscious pick.
Heat the oil for 3-4 minutes and add the whole spices and let them cook for about 1 minute. Add the onions in first and cook them until they are almost golden brown.
Then add the diced garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until the garlic becomes aromatic. Now add the pepper, kielbasa, smoked paprika, and salt to taste.
Give everything a good mix and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the rice and mix everything together.
Now, add the stock and let the mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The stock will reduce and cook the rice as the kielbasa releases its flavors as well.
Top with fresh cilantro and serve hot. We guarantee that you will love this dish and will find it to be one of the most comforting foods to eat after a long and hectic day.
Fried Kielbasa With Corn
To make this super simple and delicious recipe, you’ll need:
- Sliced kielbasa
- Cooked/boiled corn
- Chili garlic seasoning
- Butter (2 tablespoons)
You can’t get any simpler than this, simply fry the kielbasa in a pan with oil until it’s lightly brown on each side.
Add 2 tbsp of butter and let it melt. Immediately add the corn and chili garlic seasoning and mix everything together.
Top with some fresh parsley and serve hot!
Note: you can use any umami-laden seasoning of your choice for this recipe.
Kielbasa is flavorful, versatile, and beloved by many foodies across the world. It’s a staple in Poland and comes in many varieties.
This sausage also has a lot of history in North America as well and is widely used to make a range of delicious recipes.
You can boil, fry, bake and steam kielbasa to cook it and it can be used in soups and stocks as well.
This one ingredient has the power to add a flavorful punch to any dish which is why we recommend that you experiment with the recipes and use kielbasa as a flavoring agent.
Whether you get the white kielbasa or the smoked variety, every type of sausage is unique and has its own flavor profile. We recommend trying different types of kielbasas to see what suits you better.
Spoiler alert: we think you’ll love them all.
Before you get going with your first kielbasa creation, let’s answer a few more questions.
Is kielbasa a sausage?
Kielbasa means “sausage” in Poland and can refer to any type of sausage in the market. In North America, kielbasa is known to be a U-shaped sausage that is also known as “Polish Sausage”.
Kielbasa comes in many varieties and can be bought fresh from a local butcher as well.
Can kielbasa be used in soups?
Yes, the white kielbasa can be used in stocks and soups. It’s thick and large and perfect for simmering in water for hours.
You can use this type of sausage to make stocks and you may even slice the kielbasa and fry it separately and add it to the stock for a more complex flavor.
How do you store kielbasa?
You can store kielbasa in the fridge after it has cooked for about 2-3 days. We recommend storing the food at a temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to store it for the long term then we recommend keeping the kielbasa in an airtight jar and storing it in the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frozen kielbasa will be good for about 1-2 months. You can thaw the sausage in the microwave or you may even boil it directly in stock or boiling water.
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