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Various kinds of Polish kielbasa.jpg

Kielbasa, kovbasa, kolbasa, and kubasa are common North American anglicizations for a type of Eastern European sausage. Synonyms include Polish sausage, Ukrainian sausage, etc. In English, these words refer to a particular genre of sausage, common to all Eastern European countries but with substantial regional variations. In the Slavic languages, these are the generic words for all types of sausage, local or foreign.

Varieties and region varions

Poland and the Polish diaspora

Sausage is a staple of Polish cuisine and comes in dozens of varieties, smoked or fresh, made with pork, beef, turkey, horse, lamb, veal, or bison, with every region having its own speciality. Of these, the Kiełbasa Lisiecka, produced in Małopolskie, has, since late 2010, PGI protection. There are official Polish government guides and classifications of sausages based on size, meat, ready-to-eat or uncooked varieties.

Originally made at home in rural areas, there are a wide variety of recipes for kielbasa preparation at home and for holidays. Kielbasa is also one the most traditional foods served at Polish weddings. Popular varieties include:

  • kabanosy, a thin, air-dried sausage flavoured with caraway seed, originally made of pork.
  • krakowska, a thick, straight sausage hot-smoked with pepper and garlic; its name comes from Kraków.
  • wiejska, a large U-shaped pork and veal sausage with marjoram and garlic; its name means "rural" or (an adjectival use of) "country", or (adjectival use of) "village".
  • weselna, "wedding" sausage, medium thick, u-shaped smoked sausage; often eaten during parties, but not exclusively.

The most popular kielbasa is also called "Polska kiełbasa" (for "Polish Sausage") or "Kielbasa Starowiejska" known as "Old Country Style Sausage". This one comes closest to what is generally known in America as "kielbasa" (a Polish sausage).

In Poland, kielbasa is often served garnished with fried onions, and – in the form of cut pieces – smoked kielbasa can be served cold, hot, boiled, baked or grilled. It can be cooked in soups such as biały barszcz (sour rye soup), kapuśniak (cabbage soup), or grochówka (pea soup), baked or cooked with sauerkraut, or added to bean dishes, stews (notably bigos, Polish national dish), and casseroles. Kielbasa is also very popular served cold as coldcuts on a platter, usually for an appetizer at traditional Polish parties.

A less widely available variety of kielbasa is the White Fresh (biała), which is sold uncooked and unsmoked, then usually prepared by boiling, frying or cooking in a soup in place of raw meat.

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