Friday, August 19, 2011

Simple Foodie Pleasures - #2 - Slovenian Sausage

Slovenian Sausage. I'm not a sausage enthusiast. Except for an occasional hot dog and possibly Italian sausage with pasta, I rarely buy or order sausage or wurst. But that all changed when our good friend and neighbor, Jim, introduced us to Slovenian sausage. On that occasion, Jim's brother, John, was visiting from Joliet, IL, and had brought a generous supply with him, so Jim hosted a cookout and offered the sausage along with hamburgers and hot dogs. This batch had been made at a local meat market and was neither branded nor pre-packaged. I was told that three brothers at the store make several varieties of sausage, each doing 2,500 lbs. a day, but that they are all of advanced age and have neither children nor grandchildren who wish to take up the occupation, so these "home made" sausages will not be available for much longer.

That was a year ago, and I was hooked with the first bite. When Jim went back to Illinois for a family gathering a few weeks ago and brought back enough to share, I was delighted.

Slovenian sausage is known by several names including Carniolan sausage and Kranjska klobasa (various spellings). See the package below on the left. The contents are coarsely ground pork and beef, plus spices peculiar to that type of sausage to give the distinctive flavor. You can see the coarseness of it below on the right.

Slovenian has been called both the queen of sausage and the scourge of the digestive system. No doubt in my mind that it's both! Eastern European cooks do a lot with it, including it in casseroles, etc., but I'm well satisfied by just putting a link of it into a really good bun (such as from the Publix bakery) and adding a good deli mustard, like Boar's Head.

Another poster here introduced the blogspot community to Dat Dog sausage restaurant in New Orleans where Slovenian is included on the menu. You can see that her reaction is similarly enthusiastic. Dat Dog gives you a choice of dressings. Here it is with onions and peppers besides the mustard. Doesn't it look good?

Don't know how I missed this special sausage during all the years
that I lived in the ethnically-rich city of Schenectady, NY, but I will be forever grateful to Jim for the introduction. It's getting more and more difficult to find this treat (even in Europe) as the old-time sausage makers are passing on, so if you live in an ethnic area where you can find it (that would NOT be Athens, GA), buy it. Taste it once and you, too, will be hooked. (If I'm wrong, email me and I'll come get whatever you have left.)

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