Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kielbasa: Sweet, Sour, Simple

I am usually not one of those "over rice" people. I don't like sauces mixing all up with my rice, as in I prefer my stir fry to the side of the rice (more on that later). But this is one dish where I like the sauce so much, I will happily put everything on top of the rice, just so I can get all of it into my mouth.

Keilbasa is a great sausage. It has a nice sweet semi-exotic taste (and the no fennel seeds are a bonus, at least for me). You can simply grill it for a sandwich, but Keilbasa with a sweet and sour sauce is a great filling meal that is easy to make. My mother used to make this when I was a kid, and I was very excited when I found a recipe that recreated the taste of that dish. I like to use turkey keilbasa because it is healthier, and you won't miss the calories.

2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 pound turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced in 1/2 in slices on the bias (slanted, so they will look prettier)
Scant olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

A deep skillet is good for this recipe, but a large saucepan will work as well. Now watch how easy this is. Saute chopped onion for 1 minute in just a bit of olive oil in the skillet. Then add all of the ingredients to the skillet, with the heat on medium low. Stir until combined, and the sugar and butter start to melt. Turn the heat down to the lowest it can go, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.

Easy! There are just a few tips to make sure this dish turns out right.

1. Keep an eye on the pot, because you don't really want this sauce boiling. Depending on your stove and the way your pan heats this can be a little bit of a challenge if the heat keeps concentrating in one area. You can lift up the lid, and stir to prevent this, but just keeping it on low should work fine. The reason why you don't want it to boil is because the casing on the Keilbasa can tighten and sort of bulge out the meat, making it a little tough on the outside. If this happens, it is not the end of the world. It will still taste good, it just will leave a little to be desired in the texture.

2. You will know that it is ready by its smell. The vinegary smell should not be present. The vinegar is a flavoring, but this sauce should not have an acid taste like raw vinegar. If you take off the lid and get a whiff of strong vinegar smell, keep cooking.

3. And of course, taste! Add your salt and pepper to taste right near the end of cooking, so you can judge what you need according to the fully cooked sauce, and not a sauce that hasn't matured yet.

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