Category: Meat Packing

Mother’s Day 2010: Kielbasa and Pierogi for Mary

One of our “standard” meals in the six years Mary and I have been together has been a fairly traditional meal of Polish Kielbasa and Pierogi. We served this meal at our small wedding in late 2004, our wedding reception in mid-2005, to the administration of the Village of Carleton, Michigan, during Luna Pier’s portion of the 2008 Mayoral exchange, and countless other meals around those.

Today, for Mary’s dinner for Mother’s Day 2010, I think I finally got it right.

Sautéeing the pierogi and onions is the simple part. I use Michigan-made pierogi from Polish Harvest, an old-style manufacturer in Hamtramck, Michigan (yes, where Paczki were brought into the U.S.) I sautée the pierogi in real, unsalted butter over medium-high heat and pay really close attention to which pierogi are done and which aren’t. As they’re done (not all at once) they go into a glass casserole in a 225-degree F oven for holding.

The Kielbasa has always been the rough part. Traditionally the sausage is braised in a German-style beer in a high-wall skillet on the stove. For larger groups, we’ve gone with slow-cooking in old-style roasters at about 225 degrees F, with plenty of beer included in the sausage. But to me, there was something else that might have been done to make it just a little more traditional for today’s “Americanized” tastes.

This morning, on a whim, I picked up a 6-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The Polish Kielbasa for this batch was handmade by our friends at Kilgus Choice Meats in Toledo, Ohio. Before noon I dumped a couple bottles of the lager in with the three pounds of Kielbasa and set it in the fridge. After draining it this evening, I simply grilled it over medium heat.

That’s really all it needs. With the casing nice and crisp, the tender meat of the sausage really let the lager come through in a good balance with the flavor of the pork. The pierogi were also crisp on the outside and, as they were potato and cheddar, were tender on the inside and worked well with the sautéed onions.

Will I cook this meal this way again? Absolutely.

Kilgus Coarse Liverwurst, For the Health Of It

One of the most important aspects of dealing with the nosebleeds I’ve been having is rebuilding the blood supply. Losing three to four units of blood inside of a week seriously drains a person’s strength. As I didn’t quite qualify for a transfusion, getting more iron back into the bloodstream becomes imperative for any kind of a quick recovery.

Red meat is fine for this but to really get the job done, you’ve got to go with liver.

I’ve posted before about Kilgus Choice Meats in Toledo, where 3rd Generation Master Meat Packer Erich Schiehlen uses old-world processes and recipes to do some amazing things. I’ve also previously posted that my favorite sandwich is Braunschweiger, which is a smoked version of liverwurst, or pork liver sausage. My go-to brand has always been Koegel’s from Flint, Michigan, simply because that’s what I grew up on.

In the image above is what Erich Scheinlen calls Coarse Liverwurst. As I knew I was going to be needing some doses of good iron, and as Mary doesn’t do the classic Liver and Onions dish, the Coarse Liverwurst Erich makes easily does the trick for me. So, I asked her to go get me some. She came home with two pounds of it.

This is beautiful liverwurst, moist and meaty, savory with just the right amount of pepper for a minor afterburn. And, as the name suggests, it’s coarse. This liverwurst contains some big-ole chunks of good, rich pork liver. The flavor of this liverwurst is such that, after eating the two slices in the above photo, I simply had to cut and eat a third slice.

Good eating does promote good health. This kind of eating does tend to make one healthier, especially after certain medical problems.

Hmmm, feeling a bit weak again. I might need more of this stuff.