The news media has been saying that with this lousy economy, people are turning again to comfort food. This is fine with me, because comfort food has always been…. well, comforting. It can bring back good memories, or just help get your mind off your day to day stresses, even if just for a little while.
This recipe was from my grandmother, Babchi (Polish for grandmother). She lived with us from the time I was three, when my grandfather died. When I was very young, I remember her making her own keilbasa, sitting in her chair, a large bowl of ground up meat on one side of her lap (that in itself took a long time to prepare) and a 4 inch dog bone looking thing (it was a bone, I guess) in her hands. She had the casing wrapped onto the end, and she would push the meat through the bone and into the casing. Pushing, and pushing, sliding it down, it took her hours just to make this part of the meal.
This meal also takes a few hours, although it doesn’t have to be “watched” the whole time. In fact, if you wanted to speed it up you could, plus you can make it on top of the stove - but I will suggest you rinse the sauerkraut very well, and that you cook it for a long while first, and add the keilbasa last. It tastes better that way. I do warn you, this is not a low calorie, low fat recipe. I don’t think comfort food by nature is, do you?
If you want to eat around 6 p.m. I would start the preparations around 1. Also, I suggest a jar of good Polish or German sauerkraut, but of course, any will do. This recipe feeds 6, possibly more, depending on your appetite.
2 pkgs. keilbasa (I use Hillshire when I don’t have the real Polish deli kind)
2 lbs. sauerkraut
1 garlic clove
2 cans chicken broth (14 1/2 oz. each)
Potatoes (the recipe is very forgiving, use whatever kind you have) around 6 large to medium sized ones
1 can sliced stewed tomatoes
Cut the onions in half, and then half again, sliced thin.
Fry 1 1/2 of the slices in the olive oil till lightly browned.
Add in the garlic clove after the onions have browned, making sure it doesn’t burn.
Then, add the sauerkraut and the rest of the onion (the raw half) and add a bit more oil to this, (about 1/4 cup) stir well, and add the 2 cans of broth. Simmer on low for 2 hours.
Peel and cut up 6 potatoes, into chunks. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and put them in a very large roasting pan with olive oil. Bake them at 400 degrees, about half and hour, till lightly browned. You can turn them once. They like that.
When the sauerkraut has cooked at least 2 to 3 hours, and the potatoes are done, take out the large roasting pan, add in 2 rings of Keilbasa and one can of stewed sliced tomatoes.
With the oven (pre-heated) on 325, cover with aluminum foil (very important) and cook for an hour and a half to two hours.
As you can tell, this recipe can be altered, you can add things or take them away, don’t put in the tomatoes if you don’t want, add more potatoes, don’t add as much oil as I’ve recommended, and cook it on top of the stove. Babchi wouldn’t mind, it’s supposed to be comforting….not stressful! Enjoy!
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