My good friend from uni, Kasia, came to London last week for a short trip with her students.
“What do you want from Poland?” she asked me over the phone. Hmm, the list can run into pages – new music, good books, a bottle of good vodka, sausages.
“Sausages,” I said without hesitation. “Actually just one, we have Polish shops in London nowadays, so I’m sure I can find some yummy smoked sausage here too. Surprise me.” So she did. Here’s the result (vegetarians, look away now):
Now, this picture doesn’t feature any of the sausages we managed to eat pretty much straight away, apologies for that, but as it’s a nice selection anyway (or what’s left of it) I thought I’d use this opportunity to introduce you to some of the best Polish sausages around.
1. Kabanos – just to clarify and satisfy the linguist in me, ‘kabanos’ is actually singular, the plural form is kabanosy. This type of sausage has in recent years found its way to Sainsbury’s cold meats section, where it can nowadays be found alongside chorizo, salami slices and other widely known European sausages. This dry, smoky and peppery sausage in its purest form is usually quite long (up to 60cm), is made from pork, but don’t be surprised to find other varieties too – with turkey, chicken and even wild boar on offer, depending on where in Poland you buy it. There are also shorter kabanosy which you need to boil in water, but however you choose to eat them, they’re divine. My favourite.
2. Krakowska sucha – aka Krakauer, a chunky, pork sausage named after Kraków, the city. Garlicky, usually herby and smoked it can be sliced and fried, but it’s best enjoyed as a cold meat, on a sandwich or on its own. I’ve seen a thinner variety of Krakowska at a Christmas market in London, where it was just boiled and served with bread an mustard, but the big one is a classic.
3. Polska surowa – now we’re talking sausage from the top shelf here, ok? Think Polska surowa, think chorizo or saucisson. Dry, pepery pork sausage which takes some time to mature, but then bursts with flavour (god, I should become a copywriter). I can’t think of any other uses for it apart from savouring from time to time. Yum.
4. Jałowcowa – Poland wanted to protect jałowcowa – together with kabanos and myśliwska (hunter’s sausage – sorry I missed it from the above picture, but we finished it before I managed to take the picture) – as a typical Polish sausage. The application to register them as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed was lodged with the European Commission in January 2007, but so far it hasn’t been approved, as far as I am aware. So why exactly are we trying to protect it? Jałowcowa, apart from the usual suspects – pork meat and black pepper – contains juniper, which gives it its unique flavour. I kind of want to barbeque it, make it smoky and enjoy it with a slice of fresh bread and a cold beer….
5. Kindziuk – now, I have to say, this one is new to me. I even had to Google it. Kindziuk seems to be a Lithuanian speciality, which found its way to Poland. It’s made out of the finest pork cuts, can be really fatty and garlicky and according to this Wikipedia article, it can be used as a basis for various soups. I got two varieties, one with garlic, one with big peppercorns and it reminds me a bit of salami or sliced chorizo. It’s quite popular in north-eastern Poland.
Well, I have to say, the next few weeks will be a bit heavy food-wise, but let’s say I’m doing it in the name of research.
Next time Kasia comes to London, I’ll request a selection of alcohols….