This recipe happened via special request from The Boyfriend. We were watching Top Chef Chicago* last week, and were both disappointed when a sea bass and chorizo dish happened instead of Polish sausage in beer. Quelle travesty!
And so…Polish sausage? Meet beer:
I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going with this, except that I remembered the judges on Top Chef saying “steam in beer” several times. Okay. I can do that. Here’s what else happened:
Beer Soaked Polish Sausage
1 package (16 oz) Polish sausage, kielbasa, or your favorite sausage
1 can light beer (I used Busch)
2 large potatoes
Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard, or your favorite brown mustard
butter or margarine
Remove the Polish sausage from the package. Slice it into six equally-sized pieces (I cut mine in half at the horseshoe-shaped bend, then cut each half into thirds) and slice each of these pieces in half crosswise. You’ll end up with twelve pieces of sausage, each with a skin side and an inside-side.
Pour a few tablespoons of cooking oil into a large sauté pan – you want enough oil to lightly coat the bottom, but no more. Place the sausages, skin-side down, into the pan and turn the burner to medium heat. Cook until the skin turns a medium-dark reddish brown (how’s that for a color?) and flip so that the sausages are now all skin-side up. Cook for a few more minutes – because of the shape, the sausages will most likely not brown evenly, but when the middle is mostly browned, turn off the heat and remove the sausages from the pan.
Drain the cooking oil from the pan and wipe it clean. Replace the sausages in the pan (skin-side down again), shake a bit – 1 to 3 shakes each – of salt, pepper, and garlic salt over the sausages, and pour the entire can of beer over the sausages. Turn the burner to medium-high heat, and cover the pan with a lid. Hang out for a few minutes; this part takes a little while.
Now is a great time to start some water boiling for the mashed potatoes. Do that, and peel the potatoes while the water heats up. Slice each potato into small chunks – I like to cut mine into eighths – and put them in the pot when the water starts boiling. Leave uncovered (unless you’re a fan of constantly checking to make sure the pot doesn’t boil over) and let the potatoes hang out in the boiling water until they are soft enough that they are not resistant to a fork.
Check on your sausages. The beer should be bubbling all over the place, and steaming delicious beer-y flavor into the sausage. It doesn’t matter if you use cheap beer – I used Busch (don’t judge, it was left in the fridge from a month ago when some friends brought over random cases of cheap beer) and it didn’t have a negative impact on the flavor of the sausage. Save your expensive beer for drinking with the meal.
Move the sausages around in the pan with a fork or spatula. This is especially important if the pan or stove is slanty or uneven. Just sayin’.
After the sausages have been steaming for 20-25 minutes, flip them over. Shake in a little bit more pepper/salt/garlic salt, and re-cover the pan.
Check on your potatoes. When they are soft enough that poking them not-so-gently with a fork causes them to break apart, turn off the burner, remove the potatoes from the stove, and drain the water out. Place the potatoes in a bowl, add a few (between 2 and 6, depending how healthy/unhealthy you’re feeling) tablespoons of butter or margarine, and mash away. Add in a glug or two of milk to make the potatoes creamier, and add salt and pepper to taste (and minced garlic or garlic paste if you’re feeling fancy).
Cheater’s potatoes: if you started them late or if your potatoes just do not want to boil, drain the water out and transfer the potatoes to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 6-7 minutes, and they should be much softer, albeit less moist and a little bit guilty of shortcutting.
After the sausages have steamed for another 20-25 minutes (and you’ve been checking in on them and moving them around in the pan this time, too) and the potatoes are all boiled and mashed, turn the stove off and drain the beer from the pan. Serve the sausages over the mashed potatoes, topped with your favorite brown mustard. It’s not mandatory to use Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard, but you get extra credit for it because it’s delicious.
A note on the mustard (this one’s for you, Boyfriend!): Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard, once served at Cleveland Municipal Stadium (the largest man-made freshwater reef in the world), is the official mustard of Jacobs Field, or Progressive Field, or whatever they call it now, and it is a very delicious brown mustard. I was skeptical before trying it, but have since determined that it is acceptable to eat with a spoon if you do not have Polish sausage handy.
Ideally, we would have made some sauerkraut to go with this. It didn’t happen because we got too impatient at the grocery store and didn’t want to look for the sauerkraut**, but next time? That’s happening.
*I’m hopelessly addicted to this show because (a) it’s about food and (b) parts of it were filmed in/near my neighborhood. Also? I just realized today that recipes used in the show are posted on the Top Chef website, which is kinda amazing.
**And also because for some ridiculous reason, I was under the (wrong) impression that sauerkraut was horseradish. It’s not, and I am embarrassed that I ever thought that.