Ina Garten's Unusual Trick For Cooking Kielbasa

As we all eagerly await Ina Garten's newest cookbook — "Go-To Dinners," hitting stores on October 25 — you may have been getting your fill of Barefoot Contessa content on Instagram. If so, you've noticed that the Food Network star is starting to post pictures of fall-friendly foods, like mushroom and Gruyère bread pudding. "Go-To Dinners" promises to feature similarly "comforting and delicious recipes" that Garten says home cooks will enjoy making, stress-free.

Focusing on "freeze-ahead, make-ahead, prep-ahead" recipes, Garten hones in on cooking smarter in this book, alleviating some of the extra work done in the kitchen. For example, repurposed recipes coined "Two-Fers" teach readers how to reinvent their leftovers into an entirely new meal with little effort. Other meals are in the vein of sheet pan dinners, coming together in a single dish for weeknight-friendly cooking.

One ingredient ideal for a cozy, stress-free meal is kielbasa, Polish for sausage. Made with pork, veal, lamb, beef, or chicken, kielbasa is seasoned with things like garlic, juniper, allspice, caraway, and marjoram, meaning it's already very flavorful on its own and simply needs to be grilled, pan-fried, or thrown into soups and stews to be enjoyed (via The Spruce Eats). Apparently just as eager as her fans for the publish date of "Go-To Dinners," Garten just posted a sneak peek of the book: a kielbasa recipe that's so simple to make, "it's almost not a recipe."

Garten cuts her kielbasa with the hasselback method

In a recent Instagram post, Garten shared her hasselback kielbasa recipe, which she said was inspired by New York Times assistant managing editor Sam Sifton's version from NYT Cooking. It also clearly derives from the dinner party favorite, crispy hasselback potatoes, which originated in Sweden in the 1940s, per Taste Cooking. These days, chefs make the accordion-like cut on everything from chicken to beets.

Using smoked kielbasa, Garten slices the sausages crosswise every ¼-inch, carefully cutting through each link just two-thirds of the way. One easy way to pull off the hasselback cut on any ingredient is to place chopsticks on either side of the food, using them as a block to prevent the knife from cutting all the way through. Using a single sheet pan, Garten surrounds the kielbasa with onions, peppers, and fennel to complete the entire "no-recipe" recipe.

Hasselbacking doesn't just look pretty — it also increases the surface area of the food, which means more browning and more flavor. For oven-roasted foods like potatoes and sausage, the ridged pattern results in lots of crispy edges and cuts down on cooking time. For raw foods like tomatoes or cucumbers, hasselbacking creates tons of extra nooks to soak up sauces and seasonings, ensuring each bite is yummy.