Tag Archives: sausage

A Different Take on Kielbasa Stew

I have posted on kielbasa stew/soup before. I have stated before that it is a staple around our house. I have never been able to grasp the delicious richness, the depth of flavor that I achieved the first time I made it. I still did not achieve that today, but I got closer and somewhere different today. Part of that is getting our kielbasa from Shopper’s Corner (http://www.shopperscorner.com/).

The Sausage

I’m not sure what bargain Shopper’s Corner made with the Devil, but they have the most amazing steaks, tri-tips, and sausages. According to their website they are:

Shopper’s is one of the last old-time meat markets around, staffed with highly-skilled and entertaining butchers.

We get fresh local fish 7 days-a-week, sell only ultra-fresh USDA Choice and Prime-grade beef, and boast a large selection of sausages, pre-soaked meats for BBQs, and specialty cuts.

Their kielbasa packs a spiced up, fatty punch very different from the rubbery, Vienna sausage on steroid crap you get from Hillshire Farms or the watered down, mealy kielbasa that Wholefoods shills out. I’m not sure if this is how they make it in Poland, but it is one of my favorite sausages. And just to let you know, Shopper’s Corner is located in Santa Cruz so you can enjoy the redwoods, beaches, and delicious MEAT in one place.

Dice the kielbasa up and put it in the soup as the last ingredient along with the kale.

The Vegetables

This time around I left out the parsnips because they were incredibly water and of terrible quality the last time I made this soup. We picked up some lovely pre-historic looking and appropriately named Dino kale at Shopper’s Corner. If you’re not familiar with kale, it is

Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleraceaAcephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

It can be used in soups, salads, or anywhere you have cooked greens. I was surprised that I like it because I usually hate cooked greens. I find them slimy and mushy, but these were tender and decidedly not mucous like.

The kale was joined by chopped baby carrots, baby new potatoes, half a yellow onion, and a head of garlic. Chop the onions and garlic up first and cook in olive oil first. Then chop the baby carrots and potatoes and add to the onion/garlic mixture. After letting these cook for about twenty minutes, add the chopped kale and kielbasa.

The Liquid

I was lacking stock today. I usually have some stock floating around in the back of my pantry, vegetable, chicken, beef, sometimes fish, but today I was out. And it made a difference. There was a lack of depth in the flavor of the soup that I think can only be gained from using stock.

I tried to make up for it by using some Italian imported white wine that we won’t ever drink. Andrew and I don’t drink wine, but my friend Amy gave me some for my birthday: a bottle of white and a bottle of red. When friends Peter and Susannah came over last weekend they went through the bottle of red and three-quarters of the white, which I decided to use for this soup. It added a nice sweetness and acidity to the soup that was very nice.

The Grain

I wasn’t going to add a grain this time around, but Andrew insists on maximum carbohydrates in a soup. Usually I do barley or a mixture of barley and rice, but this time I did just plain white rice, which I have about twenty pounds of in my pantry. Eventually, the rice soaked up the wine, the kielbasa, the vegetables and became creamy as I left the soup onto boil. I love the versatility of grains.

The Result

It is so pretty! Much prettier than the last stew I made. I am very proud of the aesthetics of this dish.

 

Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing

In addition to the caramelized onions I made this morning, I also made this chestnut and sausage stuffing. The recipe is from http://crepesofwrath.net, which has a large amount of great, varied recipes with beautiful photos. I love looking through her blog. I changed it in places to take in account our personal preferences, but check out her blog for the original recipe.

I admit I have never cooked or eaten chestnuts before outside of desserts. I also admit they were kind of a pain in the ass to cook with and I’m not sure if they were worth the effort. However, the stuffing was satisfying and tasty when finished. The chestnuts added a creamy texture and a nutty flavor, though slightly mealy in a way that I did not enjoy.

25 chestnuts (I used fresh, but you can buy pre-roasted chestnuts at the grocery store)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. mild Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 apple, diced (I used a medium sized Fuji)
1 cup dried cranberries
6-7 cups stuffing cubes (I used cornbread stuffing cubes from Beckman’s bakery)
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1. First score each chestnut with a paring knife on the flat side of the chestnut. You can also poke them with a fork, but then you might not have the awesome bursting effect that you get when you make an X. Then you want to spread them out on a baking sheet. I was supposed to line it with foil, but I didn’t have foil.

They burst open after about fifteen minutes.

2. Cook in a 450 degree oven for fifteen minutes then remove.  You will want to start removing the shells as soon as possible. They are much easier to remove when they are hot.

3. Once the shells and papery skins are removed then you roughly chop them and set them aside in a bowl.

Chestnuts, the Sharpei’s of the nut world.

4.In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, casings removed, and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until there is no more pink in the sausage, about 8 minutes, then remove with a spoon to the baking sheet.

5. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, melt over medium-high heat, and add the diced onion. Saute until translucent, about 8 minutes or so. Add in the minced garlic and saute for another minute or two, until fragrant, then remove from heat.

6. On the baking sheet add the chestnuts, add the diced apple, dried cranberries, and cooled onion and garlic mixture. Toss to combine. Add in the 6 cups of stuffing cubes, then 2 cups of chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, then add in more stuffing and/or chicken broth, depending on the consistency of stuffing that you prefer.


Pizza Two Ways

Andrew and I made pizza today. We cheated on the crust and bought Boboli pre0-made 8″ mini crusts. My pizza featured herb and garlic feta cheese, whole cloves of roasted garlic, dried sweetened cranberries, and tomato sauce. Andrew’s pizza had Italian spicy sausage, pineapple, and tomato sauce.

Feta Cheese Pizza

  • one pre-made crust
  • garlic and herb feta cheese
  • canned tomato sauce
  • dried sweetened cranberries
  • roasted garlic cloves

1. To roast garlic cloves, chop the top off a head of garlic. Pour a little olive oil on top and then wrap in tin foil. Roast for thirty minutes at 375º. Let the foil pouch cool and then take the garlic out. Squeeze cloves to remove garlic.

2. Heat oven to 450º F. Add toppings to pizza crust. Put pizza in oven and bake for 8 minutes or until crust is crispy and cheese is a little melted.

I think that this would have been even better with some pesto or pine nuts added to it. I’m a little burnt out on pesto or I would have used it instead of tomato sauce.

Cheeseless Sausage and Pineapple Pizza

I think Andrew is insane for having no cheese on his pizza. For me pizza isn’t pizza without cheese. Plus, I’m not a sausage fan.

  • one spicy Italian sausage sliced
  • pineapple chunks
  • tomato sauce
  • pre-made crust

1. Slice sausage into small slices. You do not have to pre-cook your sausage. It will cook on the pizza. Add the toppings to the pizza and cook for ten minutes at 450º F or until sausage is cooked.

Restaurant Reviews

As a recent traitor to omnivorism and convert to cooking vegan, I feel very lucky to live in an area with as many options as Santa Cruz has. Going out to eat is not difficult, it’s not as easy as it was before, but it’s definitely do-able and delicious. There are a couple restaurants in Santa Cruz that are purely vegetarian/vegan: Saturn Cafe, Malabar/Asian Rose, Charlie Hong Kong (I think, though I’m not 100%), Alfresco, and Dharmas.  There is also Black China Bakery which has a great variety of fine vegan desserts. I have only been once to the actual bakery, but they sell their desserts at some local grocery stores and coffee houses. Many of the restaurants have a large variety of vegetarian items.

This weekend Andrew and I got food from Yan Flower, Zachary’s, the Falafel House, and Sitar. Ugh, that’s a lot of eating out, but we almost always cook. On Friday night we got food at Yan Flower before going to see Robin Hood.  Before this weekend Andrew was convinced that there was no Chinese food restaurant that was better than competent. I told him that Yan Flower was pretty good compared to all others in Santa Cruz and therefore could possibly be considered “good”.  We got hot tea, vegetable potstickers, white steamed rice, salty and chilli pepper tofu, and Andrew got Mongolian Lamb. The potstickers were very good, but a little hot (as in temperature) and I almost burned my mouth. The rice was actually good for steamed rice: fluffy and tender. The salty and chilli pepper tofu was fried tofu, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and onions. It was not as salty or spicy as I remember it, but the tofu texture was great. Andrew described it as “egg like” and he enjoyed it as much as he could enjoy tofu. He said the Mongolian Lamb was very good as well.

After taking the night to recover from the mediocrity that was Robin Hood (or Gladiator 2010: Time Travel to The Dark Ages), Andrew and I got breakfast at Zachary’s. Zachary’s is an insanely popular breakfast venue on the main drag downtown. It usually would be insanely crowded at 9am on a Saturday, but we were lucky due to the craptastic weather that we are experiencing mid-May.

I got coffee with soy milk, tofu scramble with avocado, vegan home fries, and oatmeal molasses bread. They make their breads in house and they are all amazing, but oatmeal molasses is my favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed the bread with the avocado spread on it and the home fries were tasty. Tofu scramble just isn’t my thing and this had a rotting garlic scent to it. Andrew enjoyed his scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes with Earl Grey Tea.

Later that day we went to check out the Greek Festival in downtown Santa Cruz. There wasn’t anything to it this year: just a bunch of different food booths. This was mostly desserts with a gyro place and another place where you could get souvlaki. There was no falafel which was what Andrew was looking for. Instead we ended up going to the Falafel House on Walnut Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. The Falafel House is a Syrian/Middle Eastern restaurant. I got the vegetarian combo platter which consisted of baba ghanoush, pita bread, taboulleh salad, falafel, and hummus. Now, I fucked up. I ate the regular yogurt sauce on the falafel instead of the vegan tahini sauce. I didn’t know that they were going to put the yogurt sauce on the falafel and I didn’t feel like bothering them to change it.

I enjoyed the falafel, hummus, and pita bread. I liked the baba ghanoush as well which surprised me since I don’t like eggplant. I definitely think I make better hummus though. I didn’t like the taboulleh salad too much, but I still tried to eat it and it wasn’t wretched. I think I don’t like taboulleh. Another great thing about the Falafel House is the fact that they are always playing Syrian MTV or some other music video channel. Oh and they’re onion rings are amazing.

Today we went out for lunch/dinner instead of cooking because we were bummed after the Sharks losing the first game of the conference finals. Andrew got pizza at Pizza My Heart (a local San Francisco Bay Area chain that began in Capitola). My favorite slice at PMH is pesto. It was the first thing with pesto that I ever liked and converted me to a pesto lover. Screw you campus dining halls for making me afraid of pesto for so long.

At Sitar, I got Chana Masala (vegan chickpea/garbanzo bean curry), vegan naan, basmat rice, ice berg lettuce crap in a compartment, and raita (which I didn’t eat since it’s made with yogurt). The chana masal had wonderful texture: thick sauce, creamy garbanzo beans, melt in your mouth pieces of onion, but it the curry could have been spicier. The rice was a good texture and the naan was good.

Two Kinds of Pizza

Andrew wanted to make pizza today, so we made two different kinds of pizza: one with sausage, pineapple, kalamata olives, garlic, and mozzarella rice cheese and the other with bbq “chicken”, pineapple, garlic, and mozzarella rice cheese  (seitan marinated in bbq sauce). I really liked the way the whole wheat crust turned out. I have to get used to the texture of the seitan, but it actually worked very well on the pizza with the cheese.  The rice cheese melted very well. It was missing that nice, greasy cheese component that is what makes pizza so divine, but at least it wasn’t clogging my arteries. Andrew said he really liked the way his came out, but he wouldn’t use olives the next time.

Pizza Crust Recipe

Ingredients (Crust)

Adapted from The Martha Stewar Living Cookbook

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sunflower oil

1. Pour the warm water into a small bowl. Note: It’s very important your water is the right temperature. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast; if it is too cold the yeast will not be activated. Add the sugar, and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir the mixture until the yeast is dissolved and water has turned tan. Let yeast stand until foamy, about ten minutes. In a bowl, combine flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and oil. Stir until dough comes together, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth, not tacky, when squeezed. Transfer to clean surface; knead four or five until it turns into a ball.

2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about forty minutes. Note: Our dough did not rise. I think our water was too hot or we kneaded it too much. It did not make that much difference. Our crust was a little thin and chewy. Remove the plastic wrap, and place your fist in the center of the dough to punch it down. Fold the dough back onto itself four or five times. Turn the dough over, folded side down, cover with the plastic wrap, and let rise again in a warm place until the dough ahs doubed in size, about thirty minutes. Top with whatever you like and cook in a 400º F. oven for 17 minutes.

Pizza Sauce Recipe

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 14 oz. can peeled, stewed tomatoes
  • dried oregano (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato paste

1. Pour peeled, stewed tomatoes into food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add tomato paste and sunflower oil. Pulse until mixed. Pour into bowl. Add spices.

Andrew’s Pizza

Ingredients

  • one whole wheat pizza crust
  • 1/2 recipe of tomato sauce
  • pineapple slices
  • mozzarella rice cheese
  • 1/4 pound of bulk pork sausage
  • kalamata olives
  • garlic cloves

1. Assemble pizza then cook in oven for seventeen minutes at 400º F.

Hayley’s Pizza

Ingredients

  • nuggets of pre-cooked seitan marinated for an hour in homemade bbq sauce
  • rice mozzarella cheese
  • tomato sauce
  • sliced pineapple
  • garlic

1. Heat nuggets of pre-cooked seitan on low heat until heated through. Cut into smaller, bite sized pieces.

2. Assemble pizza: sauce, cheese, seitan, sliced garlic, and sliced pineapple. Cook in oven for seventeen minutes at 400º F.

Corned Beef Sausage

My boyfriend I came across this at Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz yesterday and just had to try it. It is a corned beef sausage made with Whole Foods’ own recipe for corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes and made into a sausage. I have to say I much prefer these elements all seperate and thought the sausage a little lacking in flavor. The corned beef from Whole Foods however is absolutely delicious and tender. We had some on Friday night with our friends Shauna and Marcus who made it with fish chowder, soda bread, and P’s and C’s. Yum!

Kielbasa Stew

My boyfriend is going through a barley phase. I love barley: its cheap, filling, and goes a long way. A couple weeks ago I made chicken soup with rice and barley for him. This weekend I made kielbasa stew with barley, carrots, and parsnips. It turned out absolutely delicious. It was a little on the greasy side because I used three kielbasa when I perhaps should have used three. Andrew ate two large bowls of it and I was tempted to go back for a second myself.

Ingredients

3 pork kielbasa (you can definitely use turkey if you prefer), sliced into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup pearled barley

1 16 0z. carton of low sodium, fat free chicken broth

two carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into bite sized pieces

  • two medium sized parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly into bite sized pieces
  • three medium shallots, diced.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

Procedure

Boil chicken broth then add pearled barley. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Add parsnips, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Season to preference. Let cook for about twenty-five minutes until carrots, parsnips, and barley are tender. Then add sliced kielbasa and cook for another five minutes.

The broth came out flavorful, creamy and robust. I love parsnips to no end and think they are one of the best vegetables out there. I suppose if you cannot find them in your supermarket or farmer’s market then potatoes would work as well or any other root vegetable of your choice.