This hearty Polish stew, considered the national dish of Poland by many, is delicious and full of flavor with roast pork, kielbasa, sauerkraut, mushrooms, and more!
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 today’s Polish Hunter’s Stew, called Bigos, 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.
I'm Christine Pittman, a cookbook author and busy mom of two. My recipes are made from scratch, they're quick, and they're fresh. I started this website over 10 years ago and I'm delighted that over a million people now come to visit every month to try my recipes. Thank you for visiting and for joining me on this delicious journey!Find out more about me here.
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