Earlier this month, as we were looking through the Polish section of one of my favorite cookbooks, my husband said that he thought the Bigos looked interesting. He’s quite the carnivore, so a hunter’s stew would be appealing. The cookbook said that in Poland, it was served after bear hunts and was made with bear or other game meat. (You’ll see that the ingredients have been adapted.) I served bigos last night as a “welcome home meal.” I was surprised at how good it was. I’m not a big meat eater, and I hadn’t really expected to enjoy it and was just fixing it to be nice. Don’t you just love it when thoughtfulness is rewarded? This is adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Heritage Cookbook.
Bigos (Polish Hunter’s Stew)
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Polish
A hearty stew
- 6 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 pound boneless beef, cut in cubes (500 g)
- 1/2 pound boneless pork, cut in cubes (500 g)
- salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- 1/2 pound Polish sausage, sliced (500 g)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 6-ounce can sliced mushrooms (170g)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (120 ml)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 16-ounce cans sauerkraut, drained and snipped (1 Kg)
- sour cream (optional)
- noodles, cooked*
- In a 5-quart Dutch over cook bacon and onion till bacon is cooked and onion is tender
- Drain, reserving 2 T. drippings
- Set onion and bacon aside
- Brown beef and pork in reserved drippings, (I know the bacon makes the drippings salty, but at this point, I still added salt, pepper, and garlic powder with the meat.)
- Stir in bacon-onion mixture, sausage, beef broth, undrained mushrooms, wine, paprika, and bay leaf
- Simmer till meat is tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours
- Stir in sauerkraut (besides draining, I also rinsed the kraut because that’s what my mother-in-law used to do when cooking with sauerkraut, you still get the tartness, but it’s not overpowering)
- Cook till heated through
- Remove the bay leaf
- Serve over noodles with a dollop of sour cream; sprinkle with chopped parsley.
I like this over noodles, but it would be more traditional to eat Bigos over buckwheat kasha or by itself.
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
My husband just had this dish in Poland. He’s giving the Polish restaurant higher marks for their kraut. (Maybe I need to brind some home?) But I’m getting his vote for overall flavor and quality of meat. Smart man! (Or maybe he just doesn’t care for bear meat and wild boar, lol!)
MMR of SAT
I use only Boars Head sauerkraut, as this closely resembles the original one from Poland, Mind you there are at least a thousand varieties there. Board Head holds well its structure, and does not become “mushy” after freezing and reheating. As somebody mentioned the bigos tastes better after freezing and reheating: it matures to something rather refined.
Mind you, there are as many recipes for this dish as many families, I have been found guilty of making a decent one… Err on meat side, I usually mix half and half, sauerkraut and meats. Do not use poultry as it is too delicate to withstand freezing and reheating
Mmm…yummy! I love bigos 😉 you should try to bake bigos in the oven – it’s tasty too 🙂