Bigos, also known as Polish Hunter’s Stew, is one of the most characteristic dishes of Polish cuisine. It is a thick stew, full of flavour and aroma, whose main ingredients are sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, various types of meat and distinctive spices. Bigos is a real feast for lovers of regional cuisine and gourmets looking for an authentic culinary experience. Check the recipe:
Bigos, although it has its basic ingredients and cooking techniques, can vary from one region of Poland to another. Here are some variants of bigos that are popular in different parts of the country: 1. Bigos Krakowski: This is one of the most famous varieties of bigos, originating in Krakow. It is characterised by an abundance of meat ingredients such as pork, sausage and sometimes beef. In addition, dried mushrooms are often used in Krakow bigos, which give it a deeper flavour. 2. Bigos Wielkopolski: Here bigos is often prepared with the addition of cracklings, which give it a crunchy texture and intense flavour. In addition, this variant also often uses dried plums or apples, which add a slightly sweet flavour and contrast to the dish. 3. Bigos Mazowiecki: A variant of bigos with meat ingredients similar to other regions, but is distinguished by the addition of dried mushrooms and dried plums. These ingredients give it a distinct, aromatic flavour and characteristic aroma. 4. Bigos Podlaski: In the Podlasie region, where rural traditions prevail, bigos is often prepared with the addition of game such as wild boar, deer or roe deer. These wild meat ingredients give bigos a more distinctive and wild flavour. It is worth noting that these are just a few examples of bigos variants depending on the region of Poland. There are many other local variations and creative interpretations of this dish, which differ in ingredients, proportions and cooking techniques. Each region has its own traditions and preferences, which influence the taste and characteristics of the bigos prepared.
- 1 lb (450g) sauerkraut
- 1 lb (450g) fresh cabbage, shredded
- 8 oz (225g) smoked bacon, diced
- 1 lb (450g) Polish sausage, sliced
- 1 lb (450g) beef stew meat, cubed
- 1 lb (450g) pork stew meat, cubed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups (480ml) beef broth
- 1 cup (240ml) red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the sauerkraut under cold water to remove excess brine. Place it in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pan.
- In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add the beef and pork stew meat to the skillet and brown them on all sides. Once browned, remove the meat from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the sliced Polish sausage or kielbasa and cook until lightly browned. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- In the large pot, combine the sauerkraut, shredded cabbage, cooked meats, and browned sausage. Stir in the beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, dried marjoram, and dried thyme. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 1 hour, partially covered.
- In a small bowl, mix the all-purpose flour with a little bit of water to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the pot to thicken the stew. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the flavors are well combined.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Bigos is traditionally served hot and is even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld. It pairs well with crusty bread or boiled potatoes.
Enjoy your delicious Bigos!