Monday, March 5, 2012

Polish(ish) Soup - it's what's for dinner

Today, Virtual Potluck teamed up with The Buffalo Guys, a company that sells buffalo meat products. For a complete rundown own what everyone make, check out Diabetic Foodie's roundup.

If you haven't tried buffalo yet, you should. Well, you should if you like beef. Unlike some beef alternatives, buffalo doesn't taste gamey or "wild." It tastes like beef. But beefier. That means you can often use less meat and get just as much flavor.

While buffalo is is loaded with flavor, it's not loaded with fat - it's naturally lean. If you're watching calories, buffalo is a great choice..

I received free samples of four types of sausage: andouille, hot dogs, bratwurst, and Polish sausage from The Buffalo Guys. They were all pre-cooked, so they just needed to be heated before eating. The sausages contained no fillers, MSG, nitrites or nitrates, and the animals were raised without antibiotics or growth hormones.

The first thing I did when I got the sausages was to make sandwiches with the bratwurst. Simple sandwiches with green and red bell peppers and onions.

But ... sigh ... that wasn't quite enough of a recipe for me to post. But I wanted to post a photo. Because a photo is worth 1,000 words, right?

I think "yum" sums it up pretty well. I had some leftovers and mixed it with scrambled eggs. Yum again.

But still not enough of a recipe.

So I grabbed a package of Polish sausage and gave it some thought. The first thing sprang to mind was sauerkraut. The two are a natural pair. My first inclination was to make sandwiches, but that was waaaaay too obvious. And too easy.

My next thought was soup. I kept the sauerkraut idea and added vegetables. This was a winner for sure.

The Polish sausage from The Buffalo Guys was spicier than the typical Polish sausage you'll find at the grocery store, so it added a lot of flavor to the soup. I didn't need to add any extra herbs or spices. And since sauerkraut is salty, I didn't need to add any extra salt to the soup.

If you're using a different sausage you might want to add more herbs and spices - and some pepper as well - to compensate. Salt, of course, is a personal preference. When you make this, season to taste.

Polish(ish) Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, cubed
2 stalks Swiss chard
1 pint sauerkraut
1 quart water (more, as needed)
3 links smoked Buffalo Guys Polish Sausage

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-hottomed pot. Add the onions, and cook, stirring as needed. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for a minute or two

Meanwhile, cut the stem of the chard into slices (like you'd cut celery) and add that to the pot. Cut the leafy party of the chard into short ribbons. Set that aside.

Drain the sauerkraut and rinse it a bit if it seems too salty (I used my own home-canned kraut, but commercial sauerkraut is fine. You don't need exactly a pint - a standard-sized jar or can is fine). Add the sauerkraut and water to the pot, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until the vegetables are cooked through.

Cut the Polish sausage into thin slices. Add the sausage and chard leaves to the pot and cook until the chard is wilted and the sausage is cooked through. Serve hot.

About Buffalo (and a deal for you!)

Buffalo aren't easy animals to manage - I've been to a buffalo ranch and those critters can be mean. Interesting to look at, but not at all cuddly. The buffalo from The Buffalo Guys are all range-raised, which makes sense.

I can't imagine they'd be very happy in confinement.
Want some of your own buffalo sausage? The Buffalo Guys are offering a 15% discount on all hot dogs and sausages purchased through the end of March when you order online and you use the code VIRTUALPOTLUCK.

Want to get to know them better? Check out their Facebook page.