No matter what the climate deniers may claim, the Polar Vortex is still with us, and it ain't going nowhere. This calls for hearty food and drink. Forget about summer salads. One of my favorite dishes for this type of weather is kielbasa and potatoes---simple, hearty peasant cooking that fills the bill, and is delicious to boot. Kielbasa, also known as Polish or Ukrainian sausage is a staple of Central and Eastern European cooking. It's also very popular in the East and Midwest regions of the U.S. where large congregations of Eastern Europeans have settled. Raised in New York, I came upon kielbasa sausage early in. And I love it, whether cooked with onions, or peppers, or with kasha (buckwheat groats) or over rice. But my favorite is with potatoes. Nothing fancy, just spuds and red bell peppers and some bacon on top. Can't go wrong with this treat.
KIELBASA AND POTATOES
6 slices thick-sliced bacon, diced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
4 large potatoes, cooked (I like them with the skin on, but just cook them until just tender or semi-hard), and cut into 1-inch cubes.
1 Polish kielbasa or 1 pound Italian sweet sausage
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet, fry bacon until brown and crisp. Remove and set aside.
2. Add onion to drippings and sauté until golden brown. Add potato cubes and stir over low heat until potatoes are slightly browned, about 15 minutes.
3. Cook kielbasa in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and cut into 1/2-inch slices. If using sausages, brown on all sides in another skillet; cut into 1-inch slices.
4. Add kielbasa or sausages to potatoes. Add red pepper and stir over low heat for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Pile on a serving platter and sprinkle with reserved bacon strips.
Yield: 4 servings.