Czech Pickled Sausage Salad (Utopenci)

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I know pickled sausages may not sound good, but this recipe is delicious! I picked up this recipe from a Czech friend. The Czech word for the dish is Utopenci; the Germans have a similar recipe called Wurstsalat.

However, before I give you the details, there is an interesting back story:

I have a photographer friend, Carol Gula, who raises passion flowers then photographs them. Judging from the phenomenal resulting photos, passion flowers are truly her passion. Check out her website and you’ll see I’m right.

Years ago, Carol taught me how to make Kallitype photos, an old, traditional process for developing photographs that came along before the type of developing that was common before the digital age descended upon us. Kallis are rich with brown tones and subtle nuances. I used a Kallitype on the back cover of my first travel/recipe book, which is about Czech cooking.

I can’t wait to get somewhere in my life where I have a darkroom again and can explore some of these alternative processes. But I digress…

I ran across a journal post I made back in 2008 when Carol joined me on one of my European adventures before I moved to the Continent. My friend Jirka Novak gave me the recipe for this cold, pickled sausage salad. Well, here, you can read for yourself:

Excerpt from my travel personal journal, Friday, April 11:

 Carol and I rolled into Liberec, Czech Republic, on the train and were met by two carloads of my photographer friends. Our destination: a cottage in a village called Horni Sedlo. The cottage, usually rented to mountain climbers, was in a rural area in the Lusatian Mountains.
Every one of the 12 photo club members was there at some point over the weekend, with many of them bringing wives and children along. It was a dynamic group with no shortage of good food and drink. Jirka made a delicious pickled-sausage dish whose name they told us translates as, “People Drowning Under Water.” Later, Carol referred to it as “Dead People in the Water”, which is of course what we call it now. And of course I got the recipe from Jirka, which you see here.
At one point I said to Carol that it seemed like Thanksgiving with all the food and kids and activity. She disagreed, saying that it was better because we were all photographers and discussed photography all weekend.
And we did. They set up laptops, and photos were projected onto the wall and discussed at length. Dalin and others brought photography books that were pored over. Petr had internet access so Carol was able to show some of her beautiful work online. Simon showed his slides of Florida from his visit last year, which was quite interesting for me and Carol to see what he thought was interesting about where we lived.

I’ve had a great life! Anyway, here’s the recipe – enjoy your “Drowns”!

Print Recipe
Utopenci, Czech Pickled Sausage Salad
Cuisine Czech
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 5 to 7 days
Servings
pounds
Ingredients
Cuisine Czech
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 5 to 7 days
Servings
pounds
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Remove the skin of sausage and cut into ½ - inch slices. Toss with cayenne. Peel and slice onions into thin rings.
  2. Combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and spices in a heavy stockpot to make brine. Mix well and bring to boil. Make sure you have a strong kitchen fan or open window for this step; the vapors from the boiling brine mixture are overwhelming. Boil for one minute; remove from heat and allow to cool to 125° F.
  3. Layer sausage and onions alternately in gallon jar or earthenware crock. Press each layer well. Continue layering until jar or crock is full. Add layer of bay leaves to finish.
  4. Fill jar with brine to cover contents. Seal. Store in cool, dry, dark place for five to seven days. Serve at room temperature with dark bread and cold Czech beer.
Recipe Notes

Can be stored in refrigerator up to one month.

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