Friday, July 20, 2012

When I Say Hillshire, You Say Farms... Hillshire! (Farms!) GO SOY?? - Kielbasa and Kraut

So I was in the grocery store the other day and as I was meandering through the aisles contemplating my place in the universe... or rather, what I was going to eat for dinner.  My musings were suddenly focused on one thing I have not eaten in quite some time.  Sauerkraut and Kielbasa.

I think its the nitrates in the Kielbasa and the heavy amounts of salt in the Sauerkraut that cause me to avoid it as a regularly consumed meal.  But my taste buds were in rebellion and nothing else would suffice at that point.  besides, Kielbasa and sauerkraut are super easy to prepare.

I proceeded to Nitrate Central.  You know, where all the "Deli meat" that doesn't actually come from a Deli is located, along with the Bacon, Hot Dogs and various other forms of processed meaty goodness are all kept.   I went to grab the Hillshire Polska Kielbasa like I have done so many times in the past.  Though, again, not so much in the recent past.  I don't really know what it was that possessed me.  Maybe my higher self had an easier time communicating since I had been wandering the store in a sort of daze, but I looked at the ingredient list.

I have grown up on Hillshire products of some form or another, including the Kielbasa, since I was in diapers.  It is suppose to be a name that can be trusted.  When someone yells Hillshire, I yell "Farm" and subsequently "Go Meat!", but not anymore... Here is what I found......

ingredients: Meat Ingredients (Pork, Beef), Water, Corn Syrup, CONTAINS 2% or less of: Salt, POTASSIUM LACTATE, Dextrose, NATURAL FLAVORS, Isolated Soy Product, isolated soy protein,  Monosodium Glutamate, sodium diacetate, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE, Sodium Nitrite.

I was completely taken aback, gobsmacked, flabbergasted, stunned and even dumbfounded.  Granted, it's been over 3 years since I have eaten Kielbasa.  I don't remember it containing soy before.  If it did, I would have been seriously ill after eating it.  And just what the heck is "Isolated Soy Product".  Is that like the Soy version of Cheez Whiz?  (Processed Cheese Food Product)

Luckily, Johnsonville makes Kielbasa now (which is news to me) so I took a look-see at their ingredient list... 

ingredients: Pork, water, salt and less than 2% of the following: corn syrup, potassium lactate, dextrose, spices, monosodium glutamate, paprika, natural flavors, sodium diacetate, dehydrated garlic, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, collagen casing.

True, it contains MSG, which I usually try to avoid cause it gives me a headache, but on the whole it's pretty much a sausage without any fake stuff in it.  Johnsonville usually smokes their meats naturally as well, instead of pumping them full of liquid smoke flavorings.  I am just bummed that it doesn't come as one long sausage link, instead you get something akin to brautwurst or hot dogs...  But beggars can't be choosers, as the saying goes.

Soy avoided....  Yay! 

I am kind of Kraut Krazy, so I use A LOT...  If you don't Konstantly Krave Kraut like I do, then you may want to only use a 24oz jar instead of a 32oz. 

Kielbasa and Kraut

14 oz Kielbasa (Johnsonville, unless you can eat soy)
24-32 oz jar Sauerkraut (I recommend Bubbies)

Cut the Kielbasa on the bias (it makes the pieces look larger, and gives you a slightly larger browning area)

Drain your Sauerkraut (You can save the juice if you like, I have read that the Lactobacilli plantarum that is responsible for the fermentation is great for your digestive tract, prevents cancer growth and boosts your immune system)

Rinse your Sauerkraut under cold water and allow it to continue draining in the colander.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet.

When it's hot, add the Kielbasa slices.

Fry, turning as necessary until they are all nicely browned and slightly krispy on the edges.

Notice the lovely browning in the bottom of your pan? 

Add the drained and rinsed Sauerkraut and begin stirring.

As you stir the residual moisture in the kraut will begin to lift up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, in effect deglazing it for you.

Once the Sauerkraut has begun to brown a little, it's ready to eat.

Voila!  Dinner is Served, in less than 15 minutes... 

mmmmmmmm Comfort food!



Spryte said...


Javelin Warrior said...

Thanks for sharing your findings on Hillshire Farms - I stay away from pretty much all the processed pre-packaged stuff these days, but it still shocks me when I see all the random ingredients packed into a seemingly simple sausage. I'm sure there's some good corporate reason for it, but somehow I don't take much comfort in it...