Before we bought our home, we lived for about a year in an apartment in Hatfield, MA. Hatfield was my introduction to living in the valley, though Mr. valleywriter had lived there once before. When we first moved, Mr. valleywriter kept going on and on about how excited he was to be living so close to Hatfield Beef again. I don't normally get that excited about meat, so I really had no idea what the big deal was. That is until I tried their homemade Polish sausage (also known as kielbasa).
This mildly spicy sausage blows away anything you'll ever find at your local grocery store. Hillshire Farms is like a squishy, greasy ball of fat & filler next to this stuff. The kielbasa from Hatfield Beef is denser in texture yet leaner in fat and manages to convey a rich yet still delicate flavor.
Now I must admit that if you want to sample Hatfield's finest, you do have to get past the appearance of their retail store/butchery. It's housed in a rust-colored, rather rundown, barn-like building at 42 Hatfield Road in Hatfield, MA. The sign is barely legible and the clapboards are in desperate need of a new coat of paint. And when you walk in the door, you know that you're in a building where meat is cut. But, it's always clean, the meat is always fresh and the help is always, well, helpful! They'll cut any meat they have just the way you want it and the prices are usually better than the local grocery store.
We usually stock up when when we visit, so when I stumbled upon a stockpiled link of sausage in the freezer this weekend, I decided it was the perfect time to bring Oktoberfest to the Pioneer Valley with some kielbasa & sauerkraut.
Oktoberfest Kielbasa & Sauerkraut
(Serves 2 hungry adults)
1/2 - 3/4 of a rope of kielbasa
1 16 oz. package refrigerated sauerkraut
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 small golden delicious apple, chopped
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Drain liquid from sauerkraut and add to crockpot. Add caraway seeds, apple and brown sugar. Cut kielbasa into 3-4" hunks and add to crockpot. Pour apple cider vinegar over everything and stir. Cook on high heat for 3 hours.
Serve with a pint of your favorite beer & enjoy!
No crockpot? You can also bake this in a covered dish in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 - 1.5 hours or until the sausage is cooked through.