September 19, 2019
Hey there friends and local food eaters,
We have a special treat for you. Many of you have met our resident on farm apprentice and dear old friend Skyler, who has been doing CSA packing and deliveries for almost a year now. He happens to be an amazing cook and quite the food connoisseur. He is going to help share some farm and food happenings with you.
“Sometimes the simplest things have a fascinating depth of emotional and historical impact. Let’s take a moment to examine the hidden life of one of our favorite foods, kielbasa.
The Polish word kiełbasa is actually a catch-all term for any kind of sausage. The variety of kiełbasa in Poland is enormous, ranging from uncooked loose mixtures of meat chunks to finely ground pork packed tightly into casings and cooked, cured, or smoked. Regional varieties are vast. Similar to champagne, certain varieties are protected by both Polish and EU legal regulations to preserve the cultural significance of these national foods. In the US, kielbasa most often refers finely ground (emulsified) pork cured and stuffed into U-shaped lengths. The most commoditized versions of this sausage sold in stores often includes chicken products, added nitrates, and smoke flavoring.
At North Mountain Pastures the kielbasa we produce is decidedly simple. Our recipe is based on a recipe known in Poland as kiełbasa czosnkowa, translating to “garlic sausage” literally. Despite the Eastern European origin this sausage is certainly not vampire friendly. Garlic, marjoram, and white pepper contribute to the flavor profile, and after stuffing, the links are then hot smoked.
Let’s talk about two things that really make this sausage unique; hot smoking and emulsification. Hot smoking the sausage, in addition to imparting flavor, reduces the water content of the meat so these links brown beautifully on the grill or in the pan. In accordance with Polish tradition for this recipe the meat is also emulsified, meaning pulverized in a giant food processor until it is somewhat mashed up, as a hot dog would be but not quite that far. The fine texture is easy on the palate; the sausage cooks evenly because it has already been thoroughly cooked by the hot smoking process; and the remaining ample moisture of each link is less free to leave in the form of steam. The end result is a concentrated flavor that is easy to cook with and even easier to eat. I’m not even going to include any recipes here because it is so simple to combine with any other ingredients to make a great meal!
As the days get shorter and temperatures drop we find ourselves craving comfort foods more and more on the farm. Legumes, root veggies, bacon, and kielbasa have a special place in our hearts (and our stomachs) this time of year. Whether bolstering a pot of beans, steering a bowl of soup, or playing the star role on a plate next to some fried cabbage or greens of any kind, our smoked kielbasa is one of our fall staples.
Thanks for supporting local foods, and see you at the next delivery!