Garlic is to keilbasa sausage what rooster spur peppers are to Southern Georgia's rooster pepper sausage. You can't have one without the other.
The Russians, Poles and Czechs who make kielbasa have known for centuries that sausage-making is a wonderfully economical way to make the most of the hog scraps after the animal has been butchered. Adding plenty of fat both stretches the meat and gives it lots of flavor.
The woed sauage comes from salsus , the Latin word for "salted" (or preserved) meat. Salting meat was thr ancients' alternative to refrigeration. Sausage has been made for thousands of years - at least since Homer wrote in the Odyssey : ". . . a man near a great glowing fire turns to and fro a sausage full of fat and blood anxious to have it quickly roasted." Four hundred years later Aristophanes joked in "The Clouds": "Let them make sausages of me and serve me up to the students."
The art of making sausage at home - preserved in recent years only by a few farmers and ethic communities - is on the rise again, partly because of the back-to-scratch cooking movement and partly because of the mild flavor of most commercial sausage. The majority of national-brand sausages are seasoned to appeal to the broadest common denominator of taste. But not kielbasa . The only thing kielbasa [WORD ILLEGIBLE] argue about is the amount of garlic to use and whether or not it should be smoked.
Lazily, the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] interest in this sausage is evident in the 400 pounds of kielbasa being prepared this year for St. Mark's Orthodox Church's annual Christmas bazaar. Last year the men's club of the church made only 200 pounds. And nationally, there has been an increase in the number of sausage-maker attachments purchased to go with electric mixers; and a book on sausage-making - from hot dogs to liverwurst - was published in 1976. "The Complete Sausage Cookbook" by Pamela Riddle and Mary Jane Danley San Franciso Book Co., $9.95 tells you everything you need to know to produce just about any kind of sausage available commercially.
While the men at St. Mark's Church have been preparing their sausage using both commercial electric sausage-maker and a reproduction of an old hand grinder, their receipe is adaptable for the home cook. It comes from Endicott, N.Y., where John Cibulsky regularly makes it for his church's annual bazaar.
Recently Cibulsky, whose sister, Helen Gonsa, chairs the food part of the bazaar, came down to St. Mark's kitchen to help a brigade of 20 men (and five women whose sole task was to peel the garlic) get started on this year's production.
This is their recipe:
FRESH KIELBASA 3 1/2 pounds pork butt, coursely ground (if pork is very fatty, trim some of the excess fat) 1 1/2 pounds boneless shoulder of veal, coarsely groumd 1 small whole head of garlic 1 tablespoon salt 1tablespoon coarsely-ground fresh pepper 6 1/2 tablespoon water 1 pound hog sausage casting White cotton string for tying
"One pound of sausage casings is more than required for the recipes, but the casings keep in their original container repacked in salt. They should be frozen or refrigerated.
Some butchers will trim the meat as needed and put it through a grinder for you. Make sure it its coarsely ground - not as for hamburger, but [WORD ILLEGIBLE]. The meats may be ground at home, using a meat grinder.
Elend the garlic with the water in a Nesder. Mix it with all of the remaining ingredients by hand. Take a small amount of meat mixture and make a patty from it. Fry it and taste for seasoning. Correct as desired. Let meat mixture stand overnight in refrigerator to blend flavors.
Meanwhile prepare casing s by washing thoroughly. Do this by fitting ends of casing over faucet nozzle and filling slowly with water so casings do not tear. Repeat procedure several times to make sure casings are clean inside. Let casing stand in cold water in refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble kielbasa , drain casings thoroughly, but keep them moist or they will tear when filled with meat. Slip casing over norzle attachment of meat grinder. The with string at one end. Slowly turn handle of machine, if using hand version, to force meat down casing , or follow instructions with electric sausage-maker.Slowly case casing off the norzle and work it down as it fills with meat. The completed kielbasa should be no more than 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Fill to desired length (about 12 inches), tiewith string, and cut off. Tie the two ends of one completed kielbasa together to form ring. Repeat procedure. Kielbasa is now ready to be used immediately, or wrapped well and frozen.
To cook: Fill a shallow baking pan with 1/2 inch of cold water and sausage. Place in 375-degree oven and take for 45 minutes or until slightly golden in color. Turn sausage over carefully, being careful bot to prick casing, reduce temperature to 350and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Kielbasa should not brown or it will be too dry. It should still look pale when it comes out of the oven.
It may be frozen for up to a monthM but no longer or it will change it taste.
While it is possible to make kielbasa without casings and serve it in patty form, it is not the traditional way. And the meat cannot be packed together as densely as in casings. Michael Kapral, president of the St. Mark men's club, purchased casings from Litteria on Morse St. NE, for $1.50 a pound.
St. Mark Orthodox Church at 7124 River Road, Bethesda, will be selling the sausage along with other Russian delicacies such as pelemes, varesike, proshki , blinties and borscht Nov. 10-12. The hours are 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.