Kielbasa with Beans and Cabbage

One of the coolest things about food is that different cultures and ways of cooking can easily coexist in a single dish.

Last week, I was in the mood for some kielbasa (which was filling up our freezer) and some beans. The dish was inspired by my mother-in-law’s Chilean porrotos, which literally means beans, but to which she often adds sausage as the main protein and stews the dish for several hours.

On the Polish side, the traditional stew made with kielbasa is bigos, which also incorporates an oversized dose of cabbage with lots of garlic and pepper.

Finally, from the online world, the inspiration came from The Reluctant Gourmet, which published a kielbasa and bean recipe on their site. The idea for using Great Northern Beans and parsley came from their site.

The Shopping List

The listed quantities made enough for about 8 people.

  • Starch: 2 cups (dry) rice (Pasta, potatoes, or even gnocchi would be equally tasty)
  • Kielbasa, about 4 links, 8-12″ each
  • 1/2 to 3/4 head of green cabbage
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 3 cans of Great Northern beans
  • BADIA’s Complete Seasoning, to taste
  • Garlic salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic, about 4 cloves
  • Ketchup, about 6-8 tablespoons

Getting it Done

  1. Dice the kielbasa, about 1/4″ square.
  2. Chop the cabbage into 1/4″ wide by 1″ long strips.
  3. Fine-chop the parsley.
  4. Open and rinse the beans (I do this to remove excess salt), and open the broth.
  5. Mince the garlic.
  6. Combine all the ingredients except seasonings, ketchup and starch in a large pot, and bring the broth to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  8. When the dish is nearly finished, add salt, Complete Seasoning and pepper to taste. Add the ketchup at this time as well.
  9. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until the flavors combine.
  10. Cook the rice separately to your liking, timing it to finish with the main dish. If you’re looking for ideas, try my Chilean rice.
  11. Serve over rice with a cold salad, such as tomatoes and leek.

Most importantly, change any of the above to your liking! For example, I used the ketchup to intensify and thicken the liquid portion of the dish, giving it a powerfully sweet flavor. Try experimenting with tomato paste or even BBQ sauce to find your preference.

This dish would also taste fantastic out of the slow cooker. I would try 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low as an initial setting.