I seriously believe that having a good sausage recipe is essential for goose hunters. As I explained in this post, the meat of those Canada and snow geese can be really, really tough, and for the older birds, grinding is the only viable option. Since an electric smoker is a hunter’s best friend, why not kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and make a smoked sausage – like a Polish kielbasa!
Although the word kiełbasa can mean any kind of sausage in Poland, it has come to reference something more specific in the USA: a U-shaped link of medium diameter, made with any kind of meat, seasoned with garlic and marjoram and often smoked. This is similar to the Polish Wiejska sausage, except the Wiejska is generally made with pork and can be cooked in different ways. My kielbasa uses the same seasoning, plus some mustard and dry milk powder (a great binder to retain natural juices and prevent shrinkage).
It took me a little while to come up with interesting accompaniments. I could have stuck to kielbasa classics: fried onions, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, traditional pierogi – they’re classics for a reason, after all. Or I could have gone all French and wrapped my sausage in brioche dough (thus creating a saucisson en brioche), serving it with something like creamed leaks. Looking for inspiration, I also came across the goat cheese pierogi in Gabriel Rucker’s Le Pigeon cookbook. Put all these ideas in a bag, shake well, and you get what follows:
- Lazy potato and goat cheese pierogi (made with store-bought wonton wrappers) that pack a maximum of chèvre flavor.
- Creamed leaks with mustard and chives, because we all need our veggies – even when we’re eating Polish food.
Clearly, we’re still closer to pub food than fine dining, but that’s one fine way to prepare a wild goose!
Goose Kielbasa, Goat Cheese Pierogi, and Creamed Leeks
Yields 8 servings (4 links) of kielbasa, 4 servings for the rest of the recipe
Total preparation: 15 hours
Active preparation: 2 hours
Wild goose kielbasa
about 5 meters natural hog casings, 32-35 mm diameter
550 g Canada or snow goose meat without any silverskin
650 g pork belly, with about 60% fat
18 g salt
1 g pink curing salt
3 g black pepper, ground
2.5 g garlic powder
1.75 g dried marjoram
25 g Dijon mustard
35 g nonfat dry milk powder
15 g bread crumbs
- Soak the hog casings in warm water for at least 30 minutes, then rinse well under cold water, pat dry, and cut into pieces about 45 cm long. Reserve.
- Take 1/5 of the goose meat and of the pork belly (preferably the fatty part), cut into small dice, and reserve in the refrigerator. This portion of the meat won’t be ground.
- Cut the remaining meat and pork belly into large dice and chill in separate containers in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Pass the chilled goose meat through the large die (8 mm) of a meat grinder into a bowl. Add the chilled pork belly, salt, curing salt, pepper, garlic powder, marjoram, mustard, milk powder, and breadcrumbs; combine with a spatula. Pass the mixture through the meat grinder using the same large die. If the temperate of the meat reaches 12.5 C / 55 F, return to the freezer until it gets back down below that point.
- Evenly mix the reserved diced meat and pork belly into the ground meat mixture. Stuff into the casings using a sausage stuffer, then tie the ends with butcher’s twine, leaving some string hanging. Refrigerate overnight.
- Tie the sausages to hang from the top grill of an electric smoker. Hot smoke for 2 hours, feeding in chips every hour or so. First set the smoker’s temperature to 82 C / 180 F, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 65 C / 150 F (this takes 30-45 minutes); then lower the smoker’s temperature to finish at 65 C / 150 F.
- Untie the sausages, let cool, and refrigerate. The kielbasa can be kept in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for up to a year.
Goat cheese pierogi
230 g peeled Yukon Gold potatoes
80 g peeled onion, small dice
10 g peeled garlic, minced
20 g butter
70 g aged, dry goat cheese (keep the rind if you like), such as French Valençay or Coupole by Vermont Creamery
2.7 g salt, plus some for the boiling water
0.8 g black pepper, ground
12 wonton wrappers of 9 cm diameter
10 g rendered duck fat
- Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a pot of hot water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, then dry the potatoes in a strainer on top of the empty pot for about 10 minutes.
- Pass the potatoes through a vegetable mill. You should get about 180 g. Reserve in a bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the butter until soft. Transfer to the bowl containing the mashed potatoes, add the goat cheese, season with the salt and pepper, and mix with a fork.
- Brush the wonton wrappers with a little bit of water on one side. Place about 24 g of filling in the center of each one (that’s the maximum amount I could use without overflowing when folding), then fold into half moons. Pinch the edges very thoroughly, making wide seams to ensure you pack the filling; pierogi should be somewhat dense. Reserve on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- Cook the pierogi in salted boiling water until barely done, about 3 minutes. Drain and toss with the duck fat in a bowl. Cover and reserve.
340 g peeled leeks (white part only)
60 g peeled onion, small dice
9 g peeled garlic, minced
20 g butter
black pepper, ground
30 g whole grain mustard
15 g Dijon mustard
60 g white wine
160 g chicken stock
100 g heavy cream
12 g chives, thinly sliced
- Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, rinse well, then chop into 2 cm chunks.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in half of the butter until soft. Add the leeks and the remaining butter, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, and wine, then simmer for a couple minutes, stirring regularly. Pour in the chicken stock, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the cream, and cook over medium heat until the liquid is almost fully reduced, about 12 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then mix in the chives. Reserve in a warm place.
2 links wild goose kielbasa
about 30 g rendered duck fat
goat cheese pierogi
80 g crème fraîche
- Cut each kielbasa link in half. Peel off and discard the casing.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, fry the sausages in half of the duck fat until brown on all sides, then transfer the pan to a 175 C / 350 F oven for 5 minutes.
- In another pan over medium-high heat, fry the pierogi in the remaining duck fat, 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and reserve on paper towels.
- Reheat the creamed leeks over low heat for a couple minutes if needed.
- Arrange a piece of sausage across the center of each plate. Spoon some creamed leeks on one side, and place three pierogi topped with crème fraîche on the other. Serve immediately!