Recipe Review

I Tried Ina’s Hasselback Kielbasa and It’s the Perfect Fall Supper

published Sep 27, 2022
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Credit: Nina Elder

If you’re anything like us, you’re counting down the days until October 25, when Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Go-To Dinners, drops. In true generous Ina fashion, she’s shared a few recipes to tide us over until we can get our hands on the book. In July, she dropped a trio of too-hot-to cook recipes: Pomegranate Spritzers, Heirloom Tomato & Blue Cheese Salad, and Lobster & Avocado Sandwiches. And just a few days ago, she gave us another recipe that’s perfect for fall: Hasselback Kielbasa.

When I saw the recipe on her Instagram feed, I immediately thought it looked like a pair of roly-polies, but I also know that I love kielbasa and I trust Ina implicitly, so I ran to the store to grab the groceries and gave it a shot.

Get the recipe: Hassleback Kielbasa

How to Make Ina’s Hasselback Kielbasa

As Ina notes in her Instagram caption, this recipe was inspired by a Sam Sifton recipe that was published in The New York Times. It was a no-recipe recipe, so Ina took Sam’s idea and fleshed it out a bit more.

You start by cutting up a bunch of veggies. Ina calls for onions cut into half rounds, fennel sliced into slim wedges, and bell peppers cut into strips. You toss the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, and salt and pepper, then arrange everything in a very large roasting pan or divide them among two sheet pans. The vegetables go into a 425°F oven for 20 minutes and while they’re cooking you turn your attention to the kielbasa.

To Hasselback the kielbasa, you just slice the sausage crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. You want the sausage to stay intact, so you slice only about two thirds of the way through the meat.

After 20 minutes, the veggies will be steamy and starting to soften. You pull the pan out of the oven and put the sausage on top. To add a little extra flavor to the kielbasa, Ina has you mix equal parts Dijon and honey together. You brush the top and sides of the sausage with the honey mustard, then stick the pan back into the oven. The sausage and veggies cook together for another 30 minutes, with you brushing the sausage with more honey mustard every 10 minutes.

Credit: Nina Elder

My Honest Review of Ina’s Hasselback Kielbasa

Ina (or should I say Ina and Sam) does it again! As I suspected, Hasselbacking the sausage created lots of crispy, craggy edges, much like what happens when you spiralize a hot dog (my absolute favorite way to make them). Those slices also meant that the kielbasa juices rendered out, which made the vegetables that much more delicious.

On the veggie front, the onions and peppers were tasty, but the fennel stole the show. My husband, who doesn’t really care for fennel, was a big fan of the vegetable once it was high-heat roasted. After 50 minutes in the oven, it was tender and sweet and had picked up a good amount of color from the baking sheet. I made this dish for a weekday lunch, which was possible because there’s a lot of hands-off time in this recipe. As my husband dug in, he said, “I can’t believe how delicious this is.” Another low-effort, high-reward Ina dish ftw!

If You Make Ina’s Hasselback Kielbasa, a Few Tips

  • Go heavy on the veggies. Because it was just me and my husband eating, I made a half recipe, with a pound of sausage and half the amount of veggies. The roasted vegetables are so good that we both wanted more. The next time I make it, I’ll make the full amount of veggies and stick to a pound of sausage.
  • Use a paring knife for Hasselbacking. Slicing the kielbasa isn’t difficult, but it does require that you pay attention so you don’t slice all the way through. I tried using chopsticks as a guide, which is a common Hasselbacking tip, but that was awkward because of the horseshoe shape of the kielbasa. I ultimately found that using a sharp paring knife was the easiest way to get the job done. Just take your time and go slowly.
  • Make some mashed potatoes. As we were eating, my husband and I wanted more roasted vegetables and a side of mashed potatoes. You could put a pot of potatoes on to boil when you added the sausage to the pan so everything will be ready at the same time.
  • Finish it under the broiler. After 30 minutes, I found that the sausage wasn’t quite as browned as I would like, but the vegetables looked great. I removed the veggies from the pan and stuck the kielbasa under the broiler for a couple of minutes.