Bigos

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This hearty Polish Hunter’s Stew or Bigos, considered the national dish of Poland by many, is nothing short of a great big hug in a bowl.

This hearty Polish Hunter’s Stew or Bigos, considered the national dish of Poland by many, is nothing short of a great big hug in a bowl.

I’m always amazed at how many different dishes can be created from the same ingredients. Take sauerkraut and pork as an example; and what a great example it is. You can celebrate the New Year with a dish that is said to bring luck and prosperity with this Pork and Sauerkraut recipe. Choucroute Garnie is a braised dish that celebrates sauerkraut and pork in a very French way. And then there is Bigos or Polish Hunter’s Stew which brings sauerkraut and pork together with mushrooms, cabbage, and kielbasa in a stew that’s as hearty as it is comforting.

This is one of those dishes that can create a lot of discussion, generally starting with a phrase like, “my mom didn’t use (fill in the blank) in her recipe.”. Like all traditional recipes, the variations are as unique and numbered as the families that make and enjoy them :)  That said, my adaptation of Bigos may not include the same ingredients used by your mom or grandma, but I can assure you that it is homey, rich, and delicious.

The three components that are non-negotiable (which of course can be debated) are, chopped meat, sauerkraut, and cabbage. Some would say that kielbasa is a non-negotiable as well. And I happily support this premise.

My recipe for Bigos includes bacon, pork shoulder, kielbasa, mushrooms, sauerkraut, cabbage, and apples. I use red wine, but this is optional and can be replaced with apple juice, water or more chicken broth. Everything cooks down in my Dutch oven and I serve the stew with a loaf of crusty bread and coarse grain mustard. The bread is used to soak up every last drop of the broth, of course, and the mustard and fabulous spread on a kielbasa bite.

Bigos is one of those dishes that’s even better the second day. So, if you have the time to make it the day before, do that. If not, enjoy the leftovers, if you’re lucky enough to have them, for lunch the next day.

Enjoy!

Christine :)

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Bigos


  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8

Description

This hearty Polish Hunter’s Stew or Bigos, considered the national dish of Poland by many, is nothing short of a great big hug in a bowl.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 lb. hickory-smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs. mixed fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry red wine, or apple juice, water or more broth
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 quart sauerkraut, drained
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 and 1/2 lb. smoked kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley for serving
  • coarse grain mustard for serving
  • crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  1. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil.
  3. Add the pork to the pan in batches, cooking until browned on all sides. Transfer to a clean plate.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and add the bacon and onions. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté for another 4 minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage and caraway seeds and cook until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring the loosen any bits from the bottom.
  7. Add the chicken broth, sauerkraut, apples, and kielbasa, and pork stirring to combine.
  8. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
  9. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with a generous amount of crusty bread and coarse-grain mustard.
This hearty Polish Hunter’s Stew or Bigos, considered the national dish of Poland by many, is nothing short of a great big hug in a bowl.

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