Kielbasa Stew

This recipe is actually one that my mother was very fond of – she discovered it when I was a kid, and made it fairly often, in the process making it her own. My version here has been tweaked a bit further even from hers, which was fairly drastically altered from the original (the origins of which I have no idea).

sausage stew, ready to eat

Kielbasa Stew, all ready to eat!

This is a nice thick stew that sort of blurs the sometimes-difficult-to-determine line between soup and stew, and it makes somewhere around eight rather hearty servings. (So if you, like me, are often feeding only yourself, you might want to freeze some of it for later. Unless you like it enough to eat it frequently for the next week – no judging from me; I do that with a couple of my favourite dinner recipes.) It does freeze and reheat well, fortunately, if you want to take that route.

Sausage Stew

1 pound of sausage – ¼”-½” slices, halved/quartered
5 small onions – quartered/eighthed
7 small red potatoes – cubed
7 medium carrots – ½” slices
4 ribs celery – ½” slices
1 head garlic – roughly chopped
1 tsp. crumbled dry marjoram
1 tsp. crumbled dry thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups water, divided
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup green beans
1 Tbs butter
Salt and pepper

Notes on ingredients:

  • The amounts can be played with a bit up and down for all of the vegetables.
  • I, like my mother before me, use Eckrich’s Polska Kielbasa for this stew. (It usually comes in 14 ounce packages, but the full pound really is best, more or less tends to not work as well.)
  • Sausage Stew made with  yellow-skinned potatoes.

    Sausage Stew made with yellow-skinned potatoes.

    I have made the stew on occasion with non-red potatoes, which are a workable substitution, but red potatoes are preferable.

  • My mother used frozen green beans for this; I usually use canned cut green beans, which cook in better (and do not squeak), but I haven’t had a chance to try fresh ones yet, as they’re out of season at the moment.
  • The celery or green beans may either or both be omitted. The stew is fine without them.
  • Choose a large pot. I use my grandmother’s ‘bean’ pot, and I’m not sure what size it is, but it is the second-biggest pot I own, and this stew requires every bit of the room. You will need a lid for it, as well.

 
Brown the sausage in the pot, then drain the grease and set aside the sausage for later.

Melt the butter in the pan, then add the onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Salt and pepper to taste (not too sparingly). Cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return the sausage to the pot and stir. Add the marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf, and all but one tablespoon of the water. Bring to a boil. (My pot is always heapingly full at this point; I have to poke around to see if it seems to be boiling lower down. This is good enough, it doesn’t have to reach the top of the pot.)

Stir, reduce to a medium-low heat, cover, and cook ‘til everything is tender, or roughly thirty minutes.

Mix the reserved tablespoon of water and cornstarch, and pour into the stew. Add the green beans and bring back to a boil, stirring often, for about five minutes, when the green beans should be tender.

Discard the bay leaf (if you can find it, there was a lot of stirring involved in this one; I can about half the time – the other half it shows up in someone’s bowl later) and serve.

 
The last time I made this recipe it was a few weeks ago when my dear friend Michelle was over for a visit, and it is partially due to her that I am writing it up to share.

Michelle and Serena with Kielbasa Stew

Good friend, hot stew, and cute movie – excellent way to spend a chilly February evening.

I hope you enjoy the stew as much as she seemed to!

 
An idle note.

My mother's original handwritten (on the back of a printed page) copy of the recipe.

My mother’s original handwritten (on the back of a printed page) copy of the recipe.

Prior to this February, I had not made this stew for several years. I also had not yet gotten around to transcribing my mother’s handwritten recipe (where she did not even note down all of her changes) until that afternoon.

As a point of interest, this is what that original recipe of my mother’s looks like.

It was a wonderfully fun afternoon, interpreting it (I rather felt like a historian deciphering an ancient document) and transcribing it. With difficulty.

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