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An ode to Polish sausage

Updated on January 27, 2014

Why Polish sausage should conquer the world

Funny how inspiration can strike you in the most unexpected of times. My recent Muse has paid me a visit when I was happily tucking into my dinner. My quick, cheap, delicious and nutricious dinner. I looked at my plate and suddenly I knew what my next lens is going to be about. Behold the champion of the meat world - Polish sausage!

Photos by Tiggered

Polish sausage copyright: tiggered
Polish sausage copyright: tiggered

Welcome to sausage world

Your basic sausage comes in many varieties worldwide. There's sausage of the British Isles - a sad, whitish affair, tasting suspiciously of cardboard (don't get me wrong here, I'm not an enemy of fried breakfast, I love bacon and eggs, black puddings etc., but English/Irish sausage is the one thing I simply cannot stand and having once tried it, I wouldn't eat it again even for a lot of money). There are common hot dog fillers that, as Terry Pratchett once written, too often have more in common with pinkness than with meat. There are various salamis and pepperonis, and those can be a real treat, especially that imagination of the people who put all those tasty things on salami's rinds seems endless. There are Spanish chorizos, which I definitely need to learn more about and which come a close second on my personal sausage champions list. And then there's Polish sausage. Which is pork gone to heaven.

Two important questions before I go any further

Have you ever tried Polish sausage?

See results

Second question

Did you like it?

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kabanos copyright: tiggered
kabanos copyright: tiggered

Beginner's guide to Polish sausage

If you live in Poland, you probably already know how to prepare Polish sausage and where to get it, and you probably don't need to read this lens at all (but hey, try to read on, it may yet prove to be funny!). If you live anywhere else... well, let's tackle the first obstacle - where to get it. The answer is simple - from a Polish shop. Poles tend to crawl all over the world (I'm not being abusive here, anyway I'm entitled to say that because I'm Polish myself and I've crawled far enough from home) and wherever they go, they set up Polish food shops. Or European, or Eastern-European, or whatever they are called in your part of the world. The sausages usually keep the original labels, so I will follow with a little guide to Polish sausage brands to help you choose.

You can also try making your own. But that's for the advanced adepts in the art of cooking, so be warned.

Polish sausages copyright: tiggered
Polish sausages copyright: tiggered

Does size matter?

Basically, Polish sausage comes in three types. The thickest is about 8-10 cm in diameter. The whole thing is a good chunk of meat, so buying only a cut would be advisable, unless you have a really big family to feed. It is usually very dry, keeps well and you use it like you would use salami - thinly sliced on bread or on pizza. The best brand is called Krakowska.

Next size down is more versatile. It's roughly 3-5 cm in diameter and is usually not as dryas its bigger cousin. It is also more difficult to slice (you can still slice it a bit thicker and eat it on sandwich - delicious with some ketchup or mayonnaise). There are so many ways to eat this type of sausage that I'll get back to it in a separate section. For now it's enough to know that the best brand is called Slaska, with Torunska coming next. If you are more ambitious, try Jalowcowa (with some juniper berries added for taste) or Mysliwska, which is much drier.

The third and thinnest type of sausage is called 'kabanos' and usually is very, very dry. The drier, the better! The only officially sanctioned way of eating it is straight from the packet, dipping in mustard in between the bites. OK, I lied here, this is how I eat it, but there SHOULD be a law about it.

fried sausage copyright: tiggered
fried sausage copyright: tiggered

Recipe ideas

The most beautiful thing about Polish sausage (apart from the taste, of course) is the fact that you can eat it at any time of the day. Let me give you few examples.

Breakfast. Cut it in half lengthwise, fry and serve as a part of Irish breakfast. Or slice and add to scrambled eggs. Or stay raw and simply put it on your sandwich.

Dinner. The easiest thing to do is to simply fry it (just as you would for breakfast) and serve alongside mashed potatoes and any salad. The simplest dinner in the world, but taste-wise it's royalty.

You can also slice it and add it to a stir-fry (tomatoes + corgette + peppers + onions + sausage, all cut to similar size chunks and fried, delicious!).

Beans in tomato sauce are another classic dish. Boil the beans until soft and water has nearly evaporated (you can pour the excess water away), add sliced sausage and tomato concentrate. Voila, your dinner is ready.

I could go on. Really.

Supper. Put your sausage on a sharpened stick and slowly roast it over a bonfire. Preparation is fun, taste is heaven and you don't get to wash the dishes afterwards.

Tip: don't put your sausage into the flame, or you'll get charcoal on the outside and cold raw meat inside. Keep it over the fire. It takes longer, but the taste is worth waiting for.

Don't have a bonfire handy? Works just as well on a grill (barbecue?). And in domestic fireplaces, but I imagine it goes a bit against health and safety regulations and you've never heard about it from me, rrrright?

Expert advice

If you want to try your hand in making your own sausages, here are the books with some useful info and detailed recipes.

Check out my other lenses!

If you liked what you've just read, why not travel a little further and visit my other pages? I'm working hard, it feels good to see it appreciated. Here's a little directory to help you choose

Did you like this lens? Hated it? Found it any useful? Or simply have a good sausage story to share? Do not hesitate, type away!

Your opinion on Polish sausage (and this sausage-themed lens)

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    • profile image

      dudokdudok 4 years ago

      Well, growing up in a country neighboring with Poland in the north (Slovakia, or before Czechoslovakia), we have surprisingly much different taste in sausages. At least those Polish ones I tried were quite different. Our sausages are similar to chorizo, but IMHO much better. At least home made sausages we grew up on were incomparable. How I miss them....

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Well, I grew up eating a lot of Polish food ... sausages, kielbasa ... you name it ... never did get a liking for buckwheat though.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      I had what I think was a proper Polish Saugage with Triskets during the past Christmas season and it was incredibly delicious.

    • profile image

      dannystaple 6 years ago

      I do like many types of sausage, including some brands of chinese sausages. As for british ones, there is a huge difference between the cheap ones you get for a pound a bag of 80 frozen, and the farmers market special ones where a few quid or more get you six sausages. The latter are pretty tasty if you get quality ones.

      I love Chorizo and Pepperonis. With Salami's - it depends on the brands, I've had some that were like sweaty feet - ugh.

      WE do eat polish sausages from time to time - mostly the middle ones, that aren't quite so dry. Where I live (Northolt, West London), nearly every shop has some polish produce in it, although I'll have to look for the good brands.

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      JoshK47 6 years ago

      I love just about any sort of sausage - Polish ones are quite good, in my experience.

    • JohnMichael2 profile image

      JohnMichael2 6 years ago

      As one of Polish heritage and ancestry, I began my crawl in New Jersey where there were many places to purchase Kielbasa and Krakowska was my favorite - my dziadek would give me a good piece of it with rye bread & sweet butter and a glass of wine, That was his welcome to his home...

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 6 years ago from Albany New York

      I don't have Polish sausage too often, but it's a treat when I do.

      Fun and yummy lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This Polish gal just had to read this lens. Love your sense of humor. Does size matter? Still laughing!