Polish sausage, also known as kielbasa, is a thick sausage that comes in long links. It’s traditionally made with pork, but also available in beef. Lightly spiced with garlic and pepper, kielbasa has a generally mellow flavor that makes it a versatile ingredient. Most kielbasa is sold smoked or precooked, but some meat markets offer fresh varieties. Boiling and baking the kielbasa bring out the flavor and texture of the meat. Boil the sausage first to help warm the insides and to enhance the flavor with liquids such as beer. Then bake the sausages lightly to crisp the skin and give the outside a golden hue.
Fill a soup pot two-thirds full with water or cooking liquid and any additional ingredients. Place the pot over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil.
Place the sausages into the boiling liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Simmer the sausages until they’re warm on the inside. Use a meat thermometer to check temperature, if needed. Precooked polish sausage should be 140 degrees Fahrenheit; fresh pork or beef polish sausage should be 160 degrees F. Remove sausages from the liquid.
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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place each polish sausage in a nonstick baking dish. Space the sausages evenly and ensure the sides are not touching.
Place sausages into the preheated oven. Bake them until the skins take on a golden hue.
Remove the sausages from oven and serve.
For the best results, allow the sausages to cool, or rest, for a few minutes before cutting. Although letting the sausages rest is not necessary in terms of food safety, it does give the juices in the sausage a chance to cool. As the juices cool, they thicken and are more likely to stay in the meat when it’s cut.
Expect the sausages to split open during boiling and/or baking. This occurs when the stuffing swells from the heat and breaks the casing. It’s nothing to worry about and does not indicate the sausage is bad.
Try adding other ingredients to the pot while the sausages boil for a kick of flavor. For example, toss the sausages into the water with onions, garlic and tomato sauce for an Italian twist.
Cook raw polish sausages to 165 degrees F if they’re “specialty” kielbasa sausages made with turkey or chicken.
A writer since 2000, Aya Pauli has covered a variety of topics including food, fashion, beauty, health, parenting, education, decor and crafts. Her award-winning recipes have been published in food magazines such as "Taste of Home," and she is also the author of a salad cookbook. Pauli's craft projects appear in major manufacturer websites, including Dow Styrofoam. She also holds a CDA in early childhood education and works as a preschool teacher in Wyoming.