Visiting a deli in Poland can make your head spin. There is an absolutely dizzying variety of sausages on display. Oh, the smell of delicious Polish kiełbasa….
Smoked, cured or fresh; Made from pork, chicken/turkey, beef, lamb or veal – sometimes a blend. Every region boasts its own speciality.
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“Kiełbasa” is a general Polish word for “sausage”. Each variety has its own descriptor to distinguish its type or origin, for instance: kiełbasa myśliwska (hunter’s sausage, rich and dry) and kiełbasa krakowska (Kraków-style sausage).
Internationally, “kiełbasa” simply refers to a large smoked links of pork sausage, often vacuum-packed to prolong its shelf life. If you’re looking for more authentic taste, try Polish delis or farmer’s markets.
Okay, so you’re ready to cook. But…
Is Kiełbasa Precooked?
That depends on the type of kiełbasa you buy.
Generally, most kiełbasa sold outside of Poland is already cooked – either smoked or cured. It can be eaten as-is, but generally tastes best when heated up (more on that below).
If you stumble upon a fresh kiełbasa at the deli (for instance “biała” white sausage), you’ll need to boil it first.
Dried kiełbasa (e.g. myśliwska, jałowcowa, kabanos) is ready to eat and is served cold – as an appetizer or in sandwiches.
How To Cook Raw / Fresh Kiełbasa?
Boil in Water
- Fill a large pot with water. Salt the water – otherwise the sausage will give away its flavour to the water.
- Place kiełbasa in the pot. Bring to boil over a high heat.
- Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes – with the lid uncovered.
- Serve immediately or add more crispiness by grilling or roasting (instructions below)
Tip: Are you cooking biała kiełbasa (raw white sausage) for Easter? It’s worth pumping up the flavour by adding a few allspice berries, bay leaves, dry marjoram and a garlic clove to the water.
How To Cook Smoked Kiełbasa?
Don’t boil pre-cooked or smoked sausages, they aren’t raw after all. Boiling kills the flavours. Go for one of these methods:
Fry On the Stove.
- Cut kiełbasa in half lengthwise or in rounds crosswise.
- Heat up a spoonful of canola oil.
- Add kiełbasa to the frying pan / skillet.
- Fry until golden.
Cook On the Grill / Barbeque.
Kiełbasa is often cross-cut before grilling to prevent it from splitting.
- Fire up the grill.
- Place kiełbasa on the grill for 5 minutes.
- Flip over and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Rest before slicing.
Roast In the Oven.
Perfect method for winter months, or when you’re simply not up for firing up your grill.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C (top and bottom heating on)
- Grease the baking dish lightly, place kiełbasa inside.
- Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
- Let kiełbasa rest a few minutes before serving.
How to Cook Turkey Kiełbasa?
You can treat turkey kiełbasa just like any other. Tastes best when fried, roasted or grilled.
How Long to Cook Kiełbasa?
Regular kiełbasa sold in stores is usually precooked and doesn’t need much cooking at all. Just fry/grill/roast until golden.