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    Recipe for the best Polish bigos

    One of the most popular dishes in Poland. The way-out taste and the more you reheat it, the better it is.


    – 1 kg fresh cabbage – half a medium head

    – 2 kg sauerkraut + 2,5 glasses of the cooking water

    – 500 g pork shoulder

    – 300 g beef shoulder

    – 500 g skinless raw bacon

    – 500 g pork loin from the neck

    – 50 g pork lard

    – 180 g smoked sausage

    – 150 g raw smoked bacon

    – 150 g smoked steamed bacon

    – 2 large onions – up to 400 g

    – 50 g seedless plums 

    – 1 glass of dry red wine (optionally) 


    spices and herbs: 5 grains of allspice, a teaspoon of black pepper, 5 bay leaves, 1 clove




    1. Squeeze two kilos of sauerkraut thoroughly from the water and then chop. Place the cabbage in a pot. Pour in two and a half cups of plain tap water or filtered water (more or less, but enough to cover the cabbage with water).


    1. You don’t have to rinse the sauerkraut, but you can strain it from the salty-sour water. For someone, it’s such a flavor compromise. If you prefer more sour bigos, do not strain the cabbage from the water. If you like very mild bigos, you can additionally rinse sauerkraut in cold water and squeeze it once again.


    1. Chop a small head of white cabbage or half a larger one (one kilo total) and place it in a strainer in the sink. Blanch the cabbage with boiling water from the kettle. Place the blanched cabbage in a pot together with the sauerkraut. Cover the pot with a lid. Boil it and then reduce the power of the burner. Cook them like this for an hour under the lid.


    1. While the cabbage is cooking, prepare the meat. Cut the raw meats into small pieces: 500 g pork shoulder, 300 g beef shoulder, 500 g pork loin from the neck, 500 g raw bacon without skin. Also, prepare 50 g of pork lard.


    1. The more different meats, the richer the taste of the bigos. However, as I mentioned earlier, you can safely give up even half of the meats. Then all other ingredients are given in the same quantities. 


    1. Melt the lard in a large frying pan and then layer all the sliced meat together too. Sauté the meat like this on a medium burner for 40 minutes. Stir the whole thing with a wooden spoon every few minutes.


    1. After an hour of cooking, transfer the cabbage along with the water to a very large pot. Add all the spices and herbs. Mix everything thoroughly.


    1. Then add the pan-fried meat. Stir and cover with a lid. Cook the bigos all the time on a very low-power burner. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn.


    1. At the very end, prepare the onions and smokes. First, dice the steamed bacon and place it in the pan after the meat. When you have rendered the bacon fat add chopped onion. After five minutes of sautéing, also add the diced raw smoked bacon. Sauté the whole thing for ten minutes.


    1. After that time put all the contents of the pan into the pot with boiling bigos. Dice the sausage up and add it to the bigos. Also finely chop at least 50 grams of dried plums. If you don’t have dried plums. Mix everything very thoroughly.


    1. Cook the bigos on a minimum burner power for four hours. If you plan to add red wine to the bigos, do so on the first or last day of cooking the bigos. Pour a glass of good red wine into the bigos immediately after adding the last ingredients, or two hours before the bigos is turned off on the day you want to serve it.


    1. Look into the bigos at least every 30 minutes and stir it with a wooden spoon, because bigos likes to burn. The next day, reheat the bigos for at least two hours. Bigos is ready to eat the first day, but heated on the second or even third or fourth day gets better and better.


    According to my Granny, you have to eat bigos when it’s hot and only then. Homemade bigos tastes best with wholemeal bread or potatoes.


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