In our town, Grand Rapids Michigan, we just had our yearly event Pulaski Days. It’s our polish holiday and quite frankly, one does not have to be Polish to appreciate the wonderful food and many halls available to quench one’s thirst. It is a much-anticipated weekend by Polish and non-Polish residents of our town. Our own Westside is where these jolly events take place with many authentic dishes including Kielbasa and Sauerkraut.
The Pulaski Days is an annual local three-day celebration of General Casimir Pulaski in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the normally private Polish Halls open their doors to the public. The celebration takes place on the first full weekend in October. Most of the halls involved (14 total in the Grand Rapids area) were established in the mid-to-late 19th century.
The Polish Halls use this event as a fund-raiser to maintain their non-profit organizations. The celebration of Polish heritage draws attendance from throughout Michigan as well as other areas of the country with populations of Polish origin.
Since I work every weekend, I missed out on the terrific food and have been craving some yummy polish kielbasa. So,on my way home from an appointment the other day, I pulled into a very well-known grocery store on the west side, Ralph’s. It’s not a fancy market, not at all. The neighborhood has seen better days, but they make their own kielbasa from an old family recipe that has been passed down through generations. There are many locals who will debate which of the old markets on the westside has the best recipe for Kielbasa. I wouldn’t dare disagree with any of them, but Ralph’s was right on my route home, and my obvious choice. I am not disappointed at all!
Though I have enjoyed in the past, simply browning my Kielbasa and adding the sauerkraut to a crock pot and cooking it slow for hours, my boys did not care for the sour flavors and left my kraut untouched. This time, I decided to make it a bit sweeter. To my surprise, even my little one ate his right up! Success!
Yields: 6 or more servings
2 lbs fresh Kielbasa (I opted for the extra garlic flavor this time)
1 32 oz package sauerkraut drained and rinsed with cold water
1 whole onion sliced
EVOO to saute onion
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon allspice
Fresh Ground pepper to taste
Do not add salt to this recipe
Cut kielbasa into 3 inch pieces. Heat a large frying pan and 1 tsp of EVOO and add Kielbasa. Brown sausage about 3 minutes and turn to brown other side. It does not have to cook through as it will finish in roasting pan later. Remove sausage and set aside. Add more EVOO if needed to saute onions. Be sure not to burn. When onions are beginning to soften, add chicken broth, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and allspice. Whisk together until sugar and mustard are well incorporated. Bring to a boil. Add sauerkraut and kielbasa. Gently mix all ingredients, remove from heat and transfer to an electric roasting pan or crock pot. Heat at 250 degrees for at least 3 hours and up to 6. Serve together or as many of the Polish like to do, serve on a piece of rye bread with extra mustard.
Note: This may also be prepared in the oven at 250 degrees. Cover 9×13 pan tightly with foil, checking every couple of hours to be sure all of the liquid hasn’t evaporated.