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KABANOS SAUSAGES

On 20 October 2011, through the efforts of the Polish Meat Union, in the Official Journal of the European Union was published the Commission Implementing Regulation No 1044/2011 entering the name ‘kabanosy’ in the register of the traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG). This is the 31th Polish product entered in the EU Register. In April 2011, at the request of the Polish Meat Union, Kiełbasa Myśliwska (Hunter’s Sausage) and Kiełbasa Jałowcowa (Juniper Sausage) underwent a similar procedure.

According to the specification, ‘kabanosy’ are long, thin sticks of dry sausage twisted off at one end and evenly wrinkled. The sticks are folded in two and in the curve there is an indent where they were hung. The goat’s intestines are used for their production. The surface of the ‘kabanosy’ is dark red in colour with a cherry tint. ‘Kabanosy’ have a strong taste of baked, cured pork meat and a delicate, smoky aftertaste redolent of caraway and pepper. In order to achieve the meat’s tenderness, ‘kabanosy’ should be produced in accordance with the traditional methods of production, with special regard to the processes of drying and smoking. Thanks to that tenderness, ‘kabanosy’ make a clearly audible noise when they are broken in two (the so called “shot”).

Kabanosy, or thin, dried and smoked pork sausages in sheep casings, were eaten throughout Poland as early as the 1920s and 1930s. They were produced in small, local butchers’ establishments under the same name, but in different regional varieties. The main differences concerned the seasonings used, but also the quality of the sausages themselves. The cookery books and food publications of the day, like M. Karczewska’s “Wyrób wędlin i innych przetworów mięsnych sposobem domowym” (“Homemade production of meat and other meat products”), published in Warsaw in 1937, provided recipes and helped to standardize production techniques for ‘kabanosy’, enabling brand consolidation and quality improvements. These sausages tasted good and preservation techniques like smoking and drying meant that they could be kept for long periods.

After 1945 standardization was introduced in an attempt to improve product quality. ‘Kabanosy’ were officially released for consumption by the Decree of the Ministers for Provisions, Industry and Commerce of 15 September 1948. Technological and production aspects were subsequently standardized and in 1964 the Polish Meat Industry Headquarters in Warsaw issued a standard recipe for ‘kabanosy’ based on traditional production methods.

‘Kabanosy’ were extremely popular during the times of People’s Republic of Poland (1945-89). Everybody used to buy them. They graced elegant tables on special occasions and were equally suitable as picnic food for travellers, as gifts or as a snack with vodka. Together with ham and bacon, they also became a Polish export speciality. ‘Kabanosy’ are made from specially fattened hogs which used to be known as ‘kabany’.

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