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KIELBASA & POTATO
AND ALSO BEER
When was the last time you revisited the smash hit “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional? Do yourself a favor. Portioning this soup into quarts on a warm fall day alone in my kitchen with this from-when-I-was-9-years-old emo band belting tear jerkers at max volume, my adolescent soul sores. I still know every single word and inflection. Now that I am a 31-year-old woman and not a 13-year-old girl it “hit different” as the kids say. This song has absolutely nothing to do with the soup that we’re talking about today; it doesn’t have to. While we’re here I’ll also say that you can listen to any song at all by The Academy Is… on Spotify and that radio station that will spawn from that one choice is…ooofffff—chef’s kiss.
I’ve always struggled with the word kielbasa, and I have a feeling it’s a symptom of my Western Pennsylvania upbringing. Sometimes I get so caught up in what to do at the end of the word I just leave the ending off altogether: “kielbas.” Then I sound like a total tool. I am putting my foot down and taking a stance right now that from this moment going forward I’m sticking with the singular sausage kielbasa no matter how many sausages are involved. Who’s with me?
I have been tooling around with this recipe for a few weeks and I am very happy to share it with you in its current state. It is creamy and delicious and comforting. It tastes like a football game. This is perhaps the most perfect soup for the fall. It has beer and it tastes like beer. It also tastes like Pittsburgh if that’s something that you can get behind. This soup is easy to make with a few ingredients, and it comes together quickly. It will be done by the time the aforementioned emo radio station reaches “Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades.”
Kielbasa Potato & Beer Soup
Yields 8 Servings
4 tbsp. butter
2 lb. kielbasa, cut into coins
2 leaks, diced
1 bunch scallions, greens and whites separated
4 tbsp. flour
1 12-oz. can Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
2 lb. potatoes, cut to spoon-sized pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1 qt. cream
Small handful of dill
In a Dutch oven, brown kielbasa in butter in two or three batches. Do not overcrowd the pot. Remove sausage and set aside. Add leaks and scallions and sweat for 5 minutes or until they become translucent, scraping the fond from the bottom as you stir. Add flour and stir to absorb and coat the allium mixture. Add beer and chicken broth slowly, bring to a boil then turn heat down to medium low. Add potatoes, sausage, and cream. Simmer soup until the potatoes are cooked through. Add green tops of scallions and dill. Serve soup with fresh dill and fresh cracked pepper.
I am confident that you can use any beer that you want. If you’ve got something at home, don’t worry about getting Sierra Nevada. I’ve made soup with Sierra Nevada many times and while it is a beer that I do not drink, I think it is the best beer for soup.
I love you