February 4, 2018
Finally we got some proper snow and cold weather that will allow us to enjoy some winter food before the spring cleansing of Lent enters the menu.
Feasting means sausage, and a sausage of even greater importance than Kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage) is pečenica (sausage for baking), a raw fresh soft thing you can get at the butcher’s. We got ours at Spar’s butcher (not prepacked), as these always work for us.
You may read how Slovenian housewives first boil a pečenica and then bake it. But this is not necessary, especially if you like them crusty and a bit dry, and any lost liquids being compensated for on the plate with the sauerkraut. However, many would completely disagree with the method of cooking we present here, even though we have arguments to support our actions, and so we’ll also present some alternatives for those we fail to convince.
An almost mandatory side dish with this sausage is boiled sauerkraut or sour turnip (we opted for sauerkraut) and matevž, a version of mashed potato with brown beans. You can, if you prefer, make mashed potato instead of matevž.
Main ingredients: very achievable
For four people, we will need:
Baking tray: sausage
2 pečenica, that is 4 halves (1 half is in the picture)
Pot 1: sauerkraut
500g of sauerkraut
black pepper, ground
1 clove garlic (optional)
1/5 onion (optional)
table spoon oil (optional)
Pot 2: matevž
1 can of brown beans (medium size)
1 tablespoon sour cream (or milk or fresh cream, or some butter)
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
Ingredients marked “optional” are those we didn’t use in our effort to keep things as simple as possible.
We turned the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and when hot we pricked our sausages with a toothpick and then placed them into the oven, no additional fats added.
More diligent Slovenian housewives would first boil the sausages for 10 minutes before placing them into the oven, or at least pour some water over them after they have baked for 10 minutes (then continue bake them until water is gone and the sausages turn brownish).
There are many stories about why the sausages need to be boiled first, one of them being that this is how to get rid of any unpleasant odours. However, we bought good sausages without such a smell, so this wasn’t one of our concerns. We do believe that in some cases a little water is needed in order to prevent the sausages from drying too much in the oven, although this was not really a great concern to us. We simply baked the sausages till they turned brownish, which happened in about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile we cook the potatoes and cabbage.
The sauerkraut we simply put into a pot, add some water then boil for half an hour, or at least until sausages and potatoes are ready to be served. Then drain and place the sauerkraut on a plate, and season with some ground pepper.
Again, a more orthodox cook would first stir fry some onions and/or garlic, and only then put sauerkraut on the top of them, and boil the whole thing in water till a bit softer.
At the same time we peel and cut potatoes, add salt, cook them till soft in boiling water, drain before adding the beans (rinse before use) and sour cream, mash together, add some salt if needed, and serve.
Here, if you need to use another pot, you can stir fry the garlic first and then add the potatoes and beans on top, only then mashing them together. This takes more time but can produce a dish with stronger flavours.
Overall, this lunch took only about 30 minutes to prepare, and it was delicious.