Bigos: Polish Hunter’s Stew

Bigos is a traditional Polish stew, widely recognised and enjoyed in every part of the country (abroad as well!). This warming dish is popular during holidays, home celebrations, but it also makes its regular appearance in everyday kitchen of many Polish homes.

Bigos is a substantial and very filling meal. The flavours develop further after few days of storage in the fridge – so don’t eat everything at once!

What to serve with bigos?

Bigos stew is usually served with fresh bread, dumplings without filling (e.g. kopytka) or boiled potatoes. Drink-wise, it’s often paired with sry or semi-dry red wine.

Bigos Polish Hunter's Stew

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Bigos

Polish name: Bigos  

Also known as: Polish hunter's stew

Course Main Course
Cuisine Polish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Resting time 1 day
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Stanisław Berger "Kuchnia Polska" 1985 p.284

Ingredients

  • 0.9 lbs sauerkraut 400g
  • 0.9 lbs sweet cabbage 400g
  • 7 oz pork 200g, e.g. pork shoulder
  • 7 oz veal 200g, e.g.
  • 9 oz kiełbasa 250g
  • 3.5 oz smoked bacon 100g
  • 1.7 oz pork belly fat 50g
  • handful dried mushrooms wild
  • 2 tbsp tomato concentrate 50ml
  • canola oil for frying
  • salt to taste
  • ground pepper to taste
  • sugar to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut sauerkraut finely, pour over a small amount of boiling water and cook for 1 hour until tender.

  2. Rinse the cabbage and remove the loose outermost leaves so only clean, compact leaves remain. Shred it and pour a small amount of boiling water over it. Cook together with chopped mushrooms about 30-40 minutes. 

  3. Rinse pork meat and veal, dry with paper towel, season with salt. Brown on hot oil from all sides. Add to sauerkraut, add bacon and simmer for 40 minutes until soft.

  4. Cut belly fat into cubes, melt. Add these pork scratchings to the stew. Remove meat and bacon from the sauerkraut mix. Combine fresh cabbage with sauerkraut. 

  5. Peel sausage, cut into slices. Cut all the meat and bacon into cubes and place together with the sausage into the cabbage mix.

  6. Add tomato concentrate, season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil.

Recipe Notes

The more different types of meat you use, the tastier your bigos will be. Try game, cold meats, poultry. 

Keep for 24 hours or more in the fridge for the flavours to develop.