Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grilled Pierogi and Kielbasa

During the first weekend of October, Grand Rapids celebrates all things Polish during Pulaski Days. Everyone wear red, watches parades, dances to polka bands and gets down with some great Polish food. The most popular items are always homemade kielbasa and pierogi. I love them, but I never seem to eat them outside of that one weekend in October. When Food Network's July issue came out with a new spin on the classic, I jumped all over it.

As a warning, the recipe as written contains a whopping 36 grams of fat. There are many versions of kielbasa that are made with turkey and they taste just as good as their pork counterparts. So instead of making the trip over to Frank's Butcher Shop to get kielbasa that all the Polish halls in town swear by, I headed to the local grocery store for the Hillshire Farms turkey variety. I know it's a bit sacrilegious, but I'll save the real indulgence for Polaski Days. Plus, I figured ditching the extra fat and calories justified eating some home made ice cream later. It's summer, after all!

The rundown:
  • Flavor texture: The smoky flavor added to the pierogi paired very well with the kielbasa. I loved the mustard dressing as well. It really brought everything together and the grilled onions added a nice sweetness.
  • Difficulty: Quick and easy. I put my sausage and the pierogi/onion on the grill at the same time, so that saved a few minutes.
  • Pros: An easy summer dinner that won't heat up your kitchen. The flavors were great and I think this recipe would please just about anyone. It's also nice to introduce people to Eastern European food that doesn't revolve around sauerkraut. You could also stretch the recipe a bit and double the pierogi and dressing, while leaving the kielbasa quantity the same. There would still be more than enough meat.
  • Cons: The fat content in traditional kielbasa is high. If that bothers you, do like I did and swap it out for the turkey version. Make sure you oil your grill grate and brush the pierogi with olive oil, or they will stick and tear apart.
  • Misc: Although I loved this dish hot off the grill, it was actually even better the next day, once the flavors had melded a bit more and the pierogi absorbed some of the mustard dressing. Seeing that I'm not a huge fan of leftovers, that is quite an endorsement.
  • Repeat Performance: Definitely a keeper!
Grilled Pierogi and Kielbasa
Food Network Magazine, July 2011
Serves 4

1 pound kielbasa or smoked sausage, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
1 pound frozen potato-and-cheddar pierogi (do not thaw)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley

Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the kielbasa,  turning once, until marked, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter.

Meanwhile, whisk the mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth.

Toss the onion and pierogi with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, until the pierogi thaw and the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the pierogi and onion and continue to grill, until the pierogi are cooked through and the onion is tender, 4 to 6 more minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet or platter.

Slice the kielbasa into pieces and add to the bowl with the mustard dressing. Roughly chop the onion and add to the bowl along with the pierogi and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Divide among shallow bowls.

Smacznego! (The Polish version of "bon appetit")