Sunday, July 31, 2011

Smoked Polish Kielbasa, and Pierogies.

Ever have one of those days when you miss home, you just miss your roots?  Even though I move a lot I spent the majority of my life living in the area of Cleveland Ohio.  I know, I know I have heard all of the jokes about Cleveland, and sure our river did catch on fire,....Twice.  But to me, there is really no better place.  The people of Cleveland are Real down to earth people, and they all have two things in common, we love our sports!!  And we love our food.!!  The Cleveland suburbs are a huge variety of different cultures and demographics.  I remember going to the West Side market as a child. (Really, click the link)

This place has tons of food stands, the outside is surrounded by fresh produce vendors, people sitting around talking and laughing, others playing music for money.  All of the vendors trying to get you to try their veg, or fruits.  Then you go inside and see all of the fresh cheeses and the tons and tons of meat stands.  You can hear the gasps from the yuppies and their children looking at the pig, and lamb heads in the cases.  There is a stand that has the best Gyros I have ever had, and the freshest baked goods around.  So when I am missing my home town of Cleveland, I decided to make homemade, Kielbasa and Pierogies with Onions and potato filling.

This Picture above really reminds me of home,  This was taken by my great Uncle Jim Ptacek.  Whenever I see any of these Sephira prints it takes me back!!  Anyway, back to the Sausage (That's what she said)

This is a Fresh sausage recipe that was then smoked.  This is going to be similar to the prepackaged Kielbasa in the meat case.  But to tell you the truth that crap does not hold a candle to this.  This is the best Kielbasa I have ever had.  We start with the Mise en Place of spices and Products.
  • Medium Hog casings, rinsed and soaked minimum of 30 minutes.
  • 3 Lbs Pork Butt with fat
  • 2 Lbs Beef Chuck, trimmed
  • 1/4 C Nonfat dry milk
  • 1T plus 1tsp Kosher salt
  • 1T Sweet Paprika
  • 1T Sugar(I used Dextrose for a more even and quick distribution)
  • 1tsp White pepper
  • 1tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Celery seed
  • 1/2tsp Cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2tsp Dried Marjoram
  • 1/2tsp Freshly grated Nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1tsp Cure #1(pink salt)
  • 1T Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 C ice water
Just like making any sausages you want to start with very clean and very cold equipment.  I put my meat grinder in the freezer as well as the bowls and spoons I will be using a min of 30 minutes prior to grinding my meat.  I then take the Pork and Beef and cut them into long strips.  I find that this way the meat actually feeds itself through the meat grinder, instead of having to be tamped down.
After slicing the meat, place it in the freezer for a minimum of thirty minutes to get slightly frozen.  Then move on to the nastiest part of this, that is cleaning and rinsing the hog casing.  Hog casings are in fact the intestines of a pig.  They are generally packed in salt, and need to be cleaned very well before using.  Below is a picture of about twelve feet before being cleaned.
Not the prettiest things and a little smelly as well.  The easiest way to clean them is to soak them in Luke warm water then find the end and run water thru it like the pigs last meal.
Now you can really tell what they are.  After you have gotten all of the stink out of them, let them sit until ready to use. 
Next you need to Grind your Pork thru the coarse die of your meat grinder, then grind the Beef through the fine die.  Mix both meats together and add your spices.

I then put another bowl full of Ice under this one to keep the entire mixture Icy cold.  Then attached the paddle attachment of my kitchen aid mixer and mixed completely while slowly adding the ice water.  You know you are done when a little white film of protein starts to stick to the sides of the bowl.  Next thread your casing onto the sausage stuffer.  Forgive the lack of pictures, I mistakenly deleted them.  I know,  bad blogger, next time I will be more in depth.  Okay now you need to stuff the mixture into your prepared casings, then prick any air pockets.  I tied off the ends with butchers twine, then put in the fridge for 24 hours so the flavors can marry  and the meat can cure a little.  Make sure to take the sausage out of the fridge about twenty minutes before you want to start smoking, to ensure the casings are dry before going in the smoker.

The next day, I smoked the sausage(hee hee) at 180-190F for two hours until the internal temperature is 160F.  Next place the links in a large bowl of cool water for 30 minutes to cool, then dry thoroughly and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and the freezer for six months.
The next step is enjoying the sausage.  I twisted it into four rings a little over a pound each.  One I put on the grill and cooked slowly till the casing got crisp and brown.  The meat was smokey and delicious.
I made the pierogies with a potato and onion filling, and topped my sausage with some of the pickled red onions I made a few weeks ago and with some home made mustard.  Damn good.  See below for the Pierogi recipe.  And remember, "Source local, and Love your Meat"!!

Potato and Onion Pierogies

  • 2 Large onions sliced chopped
  • 2T (1/4 stick) butter, to saute the onion
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Clove Garlic minced
  • 3 T butter, for the mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk Heated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1teaspoon Paprika
Put potatoes in large pot with salted water and cook until tender.  Meanwhile saute the onions and garlic until lightly colored and soft.  Rice the potatoes and add the melted butter and milk, blend completely then add onions.  Salt and pepper to taste and add paprika for flavor and a richer color.

Pierogie Dough
  • 2Cups flour(all purpose) plus more for kneading and rolling
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Large Egg beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Sour cream
  • 1/4 Cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
This is a very simple and straight forward dough.  It is going to resemble a light ravioli dough when finished.  Put your Flour in a pile on the table and make a well in the middle.  Put your egg, sour cream, and butter in the middle.  Stirring the liquid mixture with your hand start to incorporate the flour slowly, as the mixture begins to tighten up and get sticky, start kneading the dough.  Knead the dough until it is smooth and feels elastic.  Then cover with plastic wrap and let rest for thirty minutes.  Cut the dough into quarters and break out the pasta machine.  Start on the highest setting and work your way until about 1/16 in thick.  Cut out three inch circles with a biscuit cutter and add 1T of potato filling.  Seal the edges and put the pierogi in lightly boiling salted water for 2-3 min.  When the pierogies are floating they are done.  Take them out and let them dry slightly.  Saute them in a hot pan with melted butter until golden brown and crispy.  Serve with sauteed onions and sour cream.  And of course a big ole piece of my sausage.

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