Bigos Myśliwski z Dziczyzną

Polish Hunter’s Stew (Bigos) with Game and Juniper Berries

“Step into the Polish woodlands with this comforting Bigos stew, where game meat, dried wild mushrooms, and fragrant juniper berries create a rich tapestry of flavours.”

How to pronounce it?
bee-gohs mish-lee-vskey
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Bigos Polish Hunter's Stew

Bigos is often translated into English as ‘Hunter’s Stew’, but there’s a specific recipe that deserves that ‘Hunter’s’ status more. Bigos Myśliwski brings a taste of the forest to our plates.

Rich flavours of game meat, dried wild mushrooms and fragrant juniper berries take us right into the woodlands. A subtle hint of woodsy smoke comes from smoked prunes, bacon and smoked kiełbasa sausages. Dry red wine and a touch of honey make it even more special.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

These natural ingredients cook unhurriedly, together with shredded sauerkraut and fresh cabbage. As the Bigos stews, all of these flavours are binding together – becoming richer and tastier with every reheat. 

Wild boar and deer meat give this dish a distinct flavour and festive character, which is why it’s worth freezing it with Christmas in mind.

Served hot with a piece of fresh bread, this Hunter’s Stew becomes a star dish at weddings, family gatherings and parties. 

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Polish Hunter’s Stew?

Yes, there will be some serious shopping around required. 

Meat: For this recipe, you’ll need 2.2 lb (1 kg) of game meat. The original recipe by Karol Okrasa uses fallow deer meat (‘daniel’ in Polish). But that can be any kind of venison, wild boar, elk, lamb, duck, goose – or even better: a mix of many different types of meat. The more, the merrier.

You’ll find it at selected butchers and in speciality shops. 

Kiełbasa Sausages: This recipe uses ‘Myśliwska’ (smoked & dried hunter’s sausage) and ‘Jałowcowa’ (juniper sausage). To learn more about what they are, check out this extensive Kiełbasa guide

In Poland, any good store selling meat and/or charcuterie will have these sausages in stock. Internationally, that can be tricky – but it doesn’t hurt to ask at the Polish deli. 

If you struggle to find them anywhere, you can use a ‘regular’ kiełbasa sausage. Just make sure it’s of high quality. Please don’t rely on mass-produced, heavily processed kiełbasa from a supermarket. It’s much better to use a local sausage from the butcher’s – even if it’s not similar to a Polish-style kiełbasa.

Smoked Prunes: Yes, you can use the regular dried prunes instead, but smoked prunes are so much tastier! If you struggle to find them outside of Poland, try an Asian Market – Chinese and Korean cuisines use them too.

Sauerkraut: as always, make sure it’s of high quality. It has to be properly lacto-fermented, without any vinegar added. Have a look at the farmer’s market, Polish or German Deli or ideally – try making Sauerkraut at home. I don’t have a recipe for it on my site yet, but there’s plenty of guidance online.

In terms of equipment, you’ll need a large (3 quarts/3 litres or more), heavy-bottomed cooking pot. Cast iron pots are ideal, the heat gets distributed more evenly.

What should you serve with this Bigos Stew?

Bigos stew is usually served with a few slices of fresh Polish bread and some dill pickles. 

But there are other popular options as well, such as: potatoes (mashed, boiled, roasted), dumplings without filling (pyzy, kopytka) or homemade kluski noodles.

Drink-wise, Hunter’s Stew pairs nicely with dry (or semi-dry) red wine. And as any party-goer will tell you, nothing goes better with Bigos than a shot (or two) of Polish vodka.

Can you cook this Hunter’s Stew another way?

To all the slow cooker fans out there – I’m sure this recipe can be done using your machine. Personally I haven’t tried it yet, but your best bet would be to fry all the ingredients as per the recipe, then cook for 7-8 hours on LOW or 5-6 hours on HIGH. If you tried it, let me know!

What diets are this Bigos suitable for?

As long as you skip the bread on the side, all Bigos stews (including this one) are completely gluten-free.

Bigos is also suitable for low-carb, keto and paleo diets.

How long can you keep this Hunter’s Stew in the fridge?

Once you’ve put Bigos out, ideally you should eat it within 4-5 hours.

Once you allow any leftovers to cool down, refrigerate them in a container with a lid (they can stay in a cooking pot if it fits in your fridge). It can stay refrigerated for up to a week. 

If you have time, reheat Bigos every day, then cool and store away again. The more you reheat Bigos, the tastier it gets. If you don’t plan to eat Bigos again anytime soon, freeze it or preserve it in jars.

Can I freeze this Hunter’s Bigos?

Yes! Bigos freezes very well. Remember to freeze it as soon as it’s cool enough to do so. 

Pour the stew into a freezer-friendly container with a lid and label it well. Describe the dish and write down the date. Consume within 6 months.

How do I reheat this Bigos Stew?

From chilled: Reheat the Hunter’s Stew on the stove. Set the pot on a medium heat and stir occasionally. If you feel that Bigos is too thick, add a little bit of water. Bring to a near-boil, then reduce the heat to a minimum and cook for a further 15 minutes. 

From frozen: Move Bigos from the freezer into the refrigerator and thaw overnight. Then reheat on the stove according to the instructions above.


Bigos Polish Hunter's Stew
Yield: 10

Bigos: Polish Hunter’s Stew with Game (Venison, Wild Boar) and Juniper Berries

Bigos Polish Hunter's Stew

'Bigos Myśliwski' is a Polish Hunter’s Stew with some fine woodland vibes.

Game meat, smoked kiełbasa, dried wild mushrooms and juniper berries will transport you right into a Polish forest.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes


  • 2.2 lb (1 kg) venison/game meat (venison, boar, elk, lamb - see notes)
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) smoked raw bacon (in a piece)
  • 1 handful (0.35 oz, 10 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 - 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 5 all-spice berries
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 3 - 4 dried bay leaves
  • 8 dried, smoked prunes
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) kiełbasa ‘myśliwska’ (smoked & dried hunter’s sausage - see notes)
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) kiełbasa ‘jałowcowa’ (juniper sausage - see notes)
  • 1.5 cup (360 ml) dry red wine
  • 14 oz (400 g) sauerkraut
  • 5.3 oz (150 g) fresh white cabbage
  • 2 - 3 tbsp apple or elderberry vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying


  1. Cut all the meats into thick chunks. Season them with coarsely ground black pepper. Pour canola oil into the frying pan and set on a medium heat. Fry the meat in hot oil until golden brown. 
  2. As the meat fries, dice the 3.5 oz of bacon, a handful of dried porcini mushrooms, one large or two smaller onions and slice 2 cloves of garlic. Add everything into the pan with fried meat. Stir and braise everything together until the onion starts to turn transparent.
  3. Let’s start seasoning. Add 3 to 4 dried bay leaves, 5 all-spice berries, 8 juniper berries and 1 tablespoon of honey. 
  4. Cut smoked prunes in half. Cut both kiełbasa sausages into rounds and add them in.
  5. Pour in 1.5 cup of dry red wine. Set the heat on ‘low’ and braise for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Chop sauerkraut roughly (as always - keep the juices, they might come in handy later!).
  7. Chop white cabbage into small cubes. Add to the pan. If you feel there’s not enough liquid, pour in more wine, meat stock or water. Braise on the lowest possible heat for 2 hours. 
  8. To finish off, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Have a taste - if the dish needs more ‘kick’, add a few tablespoons of sauerkraut juice as well.
  9. Serve with some fresh bread. 


  1. The original recipe mentions 2.2 lb (1 kg) fallow deer meat, but any game meat works great. Venison, boar, elk, lamb, duck, goose - the more, the merrier.
  2. Same goes for kiełbasa. The recipe mentions 'Myśliwska' and 'Jałowcowa', but if you have a nice wild boar sausage - great!
  3. I’ve increased (doubled) the amount of dried wild mushrooms.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 138mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 10gSugar: 20gProtein: 6g

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Recipe Information

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Recipe by / Adapted from:

“Okrasa Łamie Przepisy” TV programme by Karol Okrasa, episode 120,,88/okrasa-lamie-przepisy-odcinki,273773/odcinek-0,S01E00,325637

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