Bigos is traditionally served as a hot starter or an appetizer, served with bread, often wholemeal, and vodka.
Bigos in the 17th-18th centuries was a dish of chopped meat, fish, or even crayfish with the addition of lemons, limes, and wine vinegar. In the 18th century, people started replacing expensive ingredients with sauerkraut, which was a form of imitation of elite cuisine, hence it was called “bigos z kapustą”. In the 19th century, the proportions of meat to cabbage changed, and this is how modern bigos was created.
There are many ways of preparing bigos and its varieties. They are all based on the same basic ingredients, differing only in some of the additives and the order in which they are added. The basic ingredients of Old Polish bigos are finely chopped sauerkraut, fresh cabbage (sometimes only sauerkraut is used), various kinds of meat and cold meat, dried mushrooms, dried (or smoked) plums, onion, and spices.
Bigos, as one of the few dishes, does not lose its taste when repeatedly reheated; on the contrary, it gets better and better after each reheating. Between reheating you can freeze bigos, e.g., by keeping it outside the window in winter, which also positively influences its taste. Reheating bigos should be lightly watered with dry red wine, which enriches its sour, wine taste and aroma.
Tomorrow you will find here a recipe for the best Polish bigos. Stay tuned ?