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15 Polish Sausages You Will Love

The Infinite Varieties of Polish Kiełbasa


Poles take much pride in the variety of their sausages which number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Recipes vary by region and family. Juniper, so abundant in Poland, is the most popular smoking wood for sausages, hams and meats, giving them their characteristic taste. Contrary to popular belief, the word kiełbasa (kiełbasy pl.) does not refer only to the large smoked links commonly seen vacuum-packed in grocery stores. Kiełbasa is the generic word for sausage, so whether it's smoked or fresh or cured, a kielbasa will always have a modifier to describe just what kind of sausage it is, as you will see below.

1. Biała Kiełbasa - White Sausage

Biała Kiełbasa - White Polish Sausage
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Biała kiełbasa (BEEYAH-wah keeyehw-BAH-sah) is fresh, uncooked and unsmoked sausage, made usually from pork shoulder and sometimes a little beef and veal, and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and marjoram, although this varies from family to family. It is boiled and browned or baked or even sautéed with onions. It is served hot or cold often with chrzan or ćwikła , with sauerkraut or noodles, and as a sandwich on rye bread. While eaten year-round, it is indispensable for Easter and Christmas, and in żurek soup on Easter morning.

Here is how to make Polish white sausage if you'd like to give it a try. It's not that difficult.

2. Kabanosy - Hunter's Sausage

Polish Kabanosy Sausage
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Kabanosy (kah-bah-NOH-sih) is the generic term for any thin stick sausage. They are usually made of pork, salt, pepper, garlic, allspice and sometimes caraway or crushed pepper for a spicy note (kabanosy pikantne). But they are also made with chicken (kabanosy z kury) or other meats according to the village's custom. They are smoked and dried for a firm texture, and eaten at room temperature as a snack or appetizer, and often taken on hiking or camping trips because they require no refrigeration, like many other dried sausages.

3. Kiełbaski Myśliwska - Hunter's Sausage

Polish Kiełbasa Myśliwska or Hunter's Sausage
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Kiełbaski myśliwska (keeyehw-BAH-skee mish-LEEF-skah) is a smoked and dried sausage made of pork with a touch of crushed juniper berries. Hunter's sausage gets its name because their lack of moisture makes them resistant to spoilage and the perfect food for hunters in the field.

4. Krupniok, Kiszka, Kaszanka - Blood Sausage

Polish Kiszka or Blood Sausage
© 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Krupniok (KRROOP-nyee-ohk) is a Silesian blood sausage that is dark and has more blood than barley (or variously, buckwheat groats - kasza). Its cousin, kiszka (KEESH-kah), also known as kaszanka (kah-SHAHN-kah), is lighter in color and has more barley or buckwheat. It was originally made to use up the scraps -- ears, snouts, organ meats -- after slaughtering a pig and was fleshed out with spices and barley or kasza. Today better cuts of meat are used. The mixture is cooked and then stuffed into the sterilized large intestine of a pig. It can be served at room temperature without further cooking or either grilled or panfried with onions.

Here is a recipe for kiszka.

5. Parówki - Frankfurters

Polish Parówki or Frankfurters
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Parówki (pah-RROOF-kee) are Polish frankfurters made of finely pureed seasoned meats that are lightly smoked. They can be boiled, grilled, panfried or served with a cold cut. When made with veal, they are known as parówki cielęce and when made with pork, they are known as parówki wieprzowe. Mini frankfurters are known as paróweczki and often seen on breakfast buffets at Polish hotels.

6. Serdelki - Jumbo Frankfurters

Polish Serdelki or Jumbo Frankfurters
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Serdelki (sehrr-DEL-kee) are classic Polish hot dogs made with, usually, natural casings stuffed with seasoned pork and veal that has been lightly smoked. They can be grilled, panfried, warmed in hot water and served on a bun or with sauerkraut and potatoes. My babcia ate these almost everyday just heated in boiling water and served on a plate with ket-chuck. That's the way she pronounced "ketchup." Gosh, I miss gramma.

7. Kiełbasa Weselna - Wedding Sausage

Polish Wedding Sausage
© Piast Meats & Provisions, used with permission.
Kiełbasa weselna (keeyehw-BAH-sah veh-SEL-nah) or wedding sausage is a double-smoked pork sausage (hence its dark color) with a hint of garlic. It was typically served at weddings and other important events and to sober guests up before going home. It is meant to be served at room temperature as a snack or appetizer.

8. Kiełbasa Jałowcowa - Juniper Sausage

Juniper-Berry Polish Sausage
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Kiełbasa jałowcowa (keeyehw-BAH-sah yah-vohv-TSOH-vah) is a semi-dry sausage made with pork and crushed juniper berries smoked heavily over juniper wood. It doesn't require refrigeration, and best when served at room temperature, making it ideal for picnics, hiking and other outdoor events.

9. Kiełbasa Czosnkowa - Garlic Sausage

Polish Garlic Sausage
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Kiełbasa czosnkowa (keeyehw-BAH-sah choh-sin-KOH-vah) is literally "garlic sausage" and is made from cured pork, salt, black pepper, marjoram, and sometimes coriander and paprika, and liberal amounts of fresh garlic. It is simmered in hot water and then lightly smoked and is ideal for grilling, as a cold cut, with scrambled eggs or in stews like bigos.

10. Kiełbasa Krajana - Country Sausage

Polish Kiełbasa Krajana or Country Sausage
© Sweet Poland, used with permission.
Kiełbasa krajana (keeyehw-BAH-sah krrai-AH-nah) is a double-smoked sausage made with chunks instead of ground pork in a thicker casing. It's great as a cold cut but also ideal for the grill.
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