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South "O" Polish Sausage Burgers

South Omaha is a part of our city that came to be back in the 1800's thanks to an influx of Polish, Irish, Czech and Italian immigrants eager to make their livings in the growing meat packing industry of our area. The mouth-watering foods of these immigrants used to be an integral part of South "O" society, and while the immigrant population here has changed, a few meat markets remain that respect and honor the Omaha food traditions of days gone by. These markets are my favorite sources for authentic Polish sausages, something that I found makes great burgers.

Loaded with two kinds of Polish sausages and topped with a pepper, onion and kraut mixture, these burgers pay homage not only to my Polish heritage, but also to the great American immigrants that worked hard to make Nebraska what it is today. Enjoy!


Red Pepper Kraut:
1 Tablespoon Colavita extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons tomato sauce
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (14 ounce) can or jar sweet Bavarian style sauerkraut with caraway seeds, well drained
Dilly Cheese Spread:
1 cup soft goat cheese
2 Tablespoons high quality mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/4 cup finely chopped baby kosher dill pickles
1 (1 ounce) slice soft rye bread
1/2 pound smoked polish sausage, with casings removed
1 1/2 pounds fresh polish sausage, with casings removed and meat crumbled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 Kaiser rolls, split


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the red pepper kraut, in a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil and tomato sauce. Add the red pepper strips, green pepper strips and onion slices and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and place in a large grill pan. Place on the grill rack and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are very tender, stirring frequently. Place in a medium, fire-proof saucepan along with the sauerkraut and stir to combine. Keep warm.

To make the dilly cheese spread, in a medium bowl combine the goat cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh dill, and chopped pickles. Cover and refrigerate, but bring to room temperature before serving.

To make the patties, process the rye bread in the bowl of a food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Set aside. In the same bowl of the food processor, pulse the smoked polish sausage until finely chopped. In a large bowl gently combine the rye crumbs, the chopped smoked polish sausage, the fresh polish sausage and salt. Form into 6 patties sized to fit the rolls.

Brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium doneness. During the last few minutes of patties cooking, place the rolls cut sides down on the outer edges of the grill rack to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, spread an equal amount of the dilly cheese spread onto the cut sides of the rolls. Onto each roll bottom place a cooked patty, an equal amount of the red pepper kraut and a roll top.

Makes 6 burgers


The fresh Polish sausage I use here is all pork. The smoked Polish sausage I use is a mixture of pork and beef, but an all pork variety would work as well. Both sausages should have a lot of garlic in them to make this burger taste perfect. (The sausages I use are loaded with garlic-- they are the best!)