Every Polish family has its own recipe for Biała Kiełbasa (BEEYAH-wah keeyehw-BAH-sah) or white sausage. This is the way my family likes it.
You can adjust it as you see fit -- more garlic, less salt, more pepper, whatever. Just fry up a small patty before you stuff to make sure you have the flavor balance that pleases you most. Before you begin, see my sausage-making tips below.
- 4 pounds boneless, well-marbled pork shoulder (sliced into 1-inch-wide strips)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed in press)
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon leaf marjoram
- 14 feet hog casings (rinsed three times and refrigerated)
- Sausage should be made with a 70% to 30% ratio of meat to fat. Most pork shoulders you buy in supermarkets today are pre-trimmed, so don't cut off any excess fat. You will need it to achieve that perfect ratio that makes for succulent sausage.
- Everything must be COLD. In fact, I like to have my meat so cold, it's slightly frozen when I grind it. I have used both KitchenAid and Cuisinart grinder/stuffers and they both call for meat sliced into long 1-inch-wide strips and this works very well.
- Also, make sure your rinsed casings are cold and wet. And, most of all, make sure the ground meat that you are stuffing into the casings is COLD. If necessary, work with small batches of meat at a time, while keeping the remainder in the refrigerator. When the meat is at room temperature, it won't stuff into the casings easily and the casings will split.
- View these step-by-step instructions for making Polish white kiełbasa.
Now You're Ready to Make the Sausage
Grinding the Meat
- Cold meat grinds more easily, so keep the meat refrigerated until ready to grind. Grind the strips of meat in a hand-cranked or electric grinder, using the medium plate. Place meat in large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix water, garlic, salt, pepper and marjoram and combine with ground meat until thoroughly incorporated.
- To make sure the seasonings are just right, fry a small patty and taste. Store the ground meat mixture in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight before stuffing.
Stuffing the Sausage
- Remove casings from refrigerator and knot one end. Lightly coat the stuffing funnel with cooking spray. Slip the other end of the casing over the mouth of the funnel, making sure it is not twisted and the opening is centered around the funnel. Continue to push remainder of casing up onto funnel until you have reached the knot.
- Begin to force the meat into the stuffer with one hand while using the other hand to control the thickness of the sausage as it is extruded.
- Remember, the sausage will shrink when it cooks, so you want a nice plump sausage. But be careful you don't overstuff or the casing will burst.
- Keep extruding until the casing is used up. Tie a knot in that end. You can either leave the sausage in a large coil or twist it at 5- to 6-inch intervals to make links. Store refrigerated and covered up to two days until ready to cook.
Cooking and Serving the Sausage
- Before cooking, prick sausage along the length of the link to allow air bubbles to escape. Otherwise, it will explode in the cooking water.
- Place sausage in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 F. You can then brown it in a 350-F oven or in a pan for 15 to 20 minutes or grill it for 4 to 6 minutes per side, if desired.
- Remove to a serving platter and enjoy with homemade horseradish known as chrzan. When the horseradish is flavored with beets, it's called cwikła.
- Freeze uncooked or cooked sausage for up to 6 months.
- Don't throw away the cooking liquid. Save it to make a soup known as white barszcz or żurek.
Polish Sausage-Making Memories
I remember my busia, mother, and aunts making Polish sausage every year for Easter and Christmas. It was an all-day job. The hog casings were rinsed and soaked to rid them of their salt, and the pork was cut by hand and stuffed into the casings using a metal funnel. The house was perfumed with the aroma of garlic for days.
Today, we have the luxury of electric meat grinders and extruders, making this a very simple process.