TheCrockery

A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

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Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Kielbasa and Beans

I love kielbasa. It's probably my favorite of the "prepared meats." I like it better than bratwurst or regular American-style hot dogs, and I like "real" kielbasa better than the hot-dog shaped "polish sausages" which don't usually have quite the same flavor.

However, I'm not aware of a lot of uses for kielbasa. The simplest thing to do with it is to slice it in half, cut in long chunks, and fry it up for use in sandwiches. The next simplest thing to do is to cut in small pieces and simmer it in barbecue sauce. (This dish goes well with plain old mac-and-cheese, for some reason.) This latter dish makes an appearance in a crockpot sometimes at pot-luck dinners or church lunches, but my attempts to cook it in the crockpot have mostly failed, generally because I cooked it for too long, or on high, or with not enough liquid. (This was actually one of the first crockery meals I tried to make, and I really didn't know what I was doing.)

I'm here to tell you that there is a better way to prepare kielbasa in the crockpot. It is as follows.

Ingredients:

1 pound of kielbasa, skinless if you prefer (we think the recipe works just as well if you don't remove the skin.)

3 15.5 oz cans of white beans. White kidney beans (cannellini) are preferable, but Great Northern Beans also work.

1 medium-large or 2 very small onions, peeled and diced. (You should have about 1 cup of onion.)

1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Adjust to taste: we like more garlic, but you may like less. If you don't already have a jar of minced garlic in your refrigerator, get one. Your life will be easier.

3 tablespoons white sugar.

1- 1/2 cups of water.

Directions:

1) Prepare the kielbasa by slicing in half, then cutting into quarters or eighths.

2) Drain and rinse the beans. (Hint: use a colander.)

3) Spray the inside of a medium crockpot (this recipe is too small for a large pot) with Pam or another cooking spray. I know that many slow cooker directions say you don't need this step, but trust me, things really do stick less often if you spray the crock first.

4) Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Add the water last so that you can make sure it is neither too liquidy nor too far below the ideal cooking volume.

5) Cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.

That's it. This is a pretty simple dish. Better have a loaf of bread or a plate of hot rolls to go with it, and add a salad or spinach for your health on the side.

Recipe adapted from Rebecca Field Jager's How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time. I've changed the proportions and altered the directions to bring out more of the garlic and onion taste. The original recipe was more subtle and beany, but we think my version has a better flavor.

3 Comments:

Blogger Leopoldtulip said...

The original recipe had too many beans (2 cans) and too little kielbasa (1/2 pound). Thank you for all you have done in service of kielbasa.

12:32 AM  
Blogger janeeyreish said...

Can you just cook kielbasa alone so it's like a hot dog? Not into beans....

4:24 PM  
Blogger Teresa H.T. said...

Can you just cook kielbasa alone so it's like a hot dog?

Yes, of course, as the blog entry mentions, you can:

. . .slice it in half, cut in long chunks, and fry it up for use in sandwiches.

However, that wouldn't solve the problem if you were (as I was) looking for something else to do with the kielbasa besides serving it in this way, aka "the usual way."

4:41 PM  

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