My mom's mom's family is from Poland. They all moved to Baltimore, Maryland sometime in the 1930s. After my family moved to the Atlanta area in 1985, we'd make an annual trip back to Baltimore and come home with several pounds of Polish sausage links to last us for many special holiday meals. Sausage is so subjective. The Baltimore Polish sausage is nothing like what my Polish friend in Chicago is used to. This is like if we Americans called every single sausage made in the US, "American Sausage". Like if I went to Poland and someone there said, "Hey, bring me some of that American sausage!" And I was like, "Okay!" and I brought over some South Georgia Country Sausage and they were like, "No, bitch, I wanted that shit with rice from Louisiana." So unfortunately when Dorothy from Chicago asks if I want any Polish sausage, I reply with, "Yeah, but can you get the other kind of Polish sausage?" and then she has no idea what I'm talking about. Lost in sausage translation.
After my Dad passed away, my mom, sisters and I took a trip up to Baltimore to scope out where we'd later spread Dad's ashes in the Chesapeake Bay (we discovered spreading ashes in the Chesapeake Bay was illegal, but more on that another time). While there, Mom stocked up on several pounds of Polish sausage yet again, wrapping them in foil and freezing them in my Godmother Doreen's basement freezer. Doreen is also Polish and makes her family's sausage recipe. On the flight home, with our soft cooler full of sausage as a carryon, the Southern storms forced our plane to make an emergency landing in South Carolina, where we sat on the runway for 2 hours. The sausage had begun to thaw and the garlic and raw pork aroma was taking over the plane's interior. It's a good smell if you know what it is. I can only imagine what everyone else thought it was.
So when I was getting good at making sausage with my Kitchenaid stand mixer, it dawned on me that I could ask Doreen for the Polish sausage recipe. I grew up hearing Polish jokes here and there. I never took it seriously since these jokes are interchangeable with blondes and other ethnicities. The jokes were silly and as a family, we relied on the true stories of the funny things our Polish friends would do. Like the time Mom said Doreen threw away all of her silver because she thought it had "gone bad" when it was just tarnished and in need of some shining.
When I read over Doreen's recipe for the first time, I thought, damn that's a lot of garlic! But I never questioned it further. If I'm to make 16 pounds of sausage, who am I to judge the garlic content? So I did just as it said and I f*cking crushed up 14 large bulbs of garlic. If you aren't familiar, the bulb is the entire garlic as a whole, so factor all the small cloves in each bulb that had to be peeled and chopped. But I was just following the recipe. I did a taste test of the sausage mixture where I fried up a small bit in a skillet before stuffing it in the casings. I'd like to say that the small bite I took, the garlic is still within me, warding off diseases and vampires to this day. And then it hit me, slapped me in the face- Did Doreen mean to say "14 large garlic cloves"?! I called up Doreen to ask and she said, "Yeah, the bulbs."
"Like the whole thing of garlic or the little pieces?"
"The little pieces- the bulbs."
I never laughed so hard and I taught Doreen a little bit about garlic terminology that day. Boyd and I somehow came up with a formula where each slab of Polish sausage that was made, was frozen and labeled with the instructions to use another 6 pounds of pork shoulder, unseasoned and ground up. And it worked. I don't advise this method moving forward though. I've attached Doreen's email with the recipe, below. But beware, I have not changed it one bit so take care when deciding whether to use the bulbs versus the cloves.
Recipe makes about 20 rings of sausage. I wrap each ring in plastic wrap then foil and it freezes well.
Here it goes:
2 fresh pork shoulders, grind regular (should be about 16# of meat)
14 large garlic bulbs
3 tbls + 1 tsp salt
3 tbls pepper (coarse grind pepper works great and you can see it through the casing, which makes a nice appearance)
1 small container Ground Marjoram (0.65 oz size)
5 cups water
Start with a very large pot. Add meat.
Chop garlic. I use a small chopper and add some water to the garlic so you end up with soupy garlic. Add to meat
Add salt, pepper, marjoram and water.
Mix with your hand.
Cover the top of the meat with plastic wrap and place the pot in the fridge over night. The ingredients will absorb the water so the volume of meat will be more.
The next day mix again by hand. (Everything is cold and your hands are going to get cold.)
After you mix, place one finger in the mixture. If the meat sticks to your finger, add some water a little at a time. Essentially you want your finger to come out clean.
Stuff ingredients into casing. (I assume you know to tie a knot at the beginning and end of each ring.)
Buy the casing that is packed in salt. Remove the casing carefully into another bowl. Keep the salt in case you do not use all the casing.
Take one strand of casing and take one end and attach to spigot and run water slowly through the casing to rinse and look for any holes. (Imagine filling up a water balloon.) Repeat with each strand of casing. Soak casing overnight in bowl of water. You can return any unused casing back to the salt container.
Thanks for stopping by and happy sausage making!