Bigos (Polish hunter’s stew)

Bigos (Polish hunter’s stew)
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min. Simmering time 1 hour

Bigos, Polish sausage stew, encapsulates one of gastronomy’s greatest pairings – pork and cabbage. Feel free to add chicken, venison or other cuts of pork to the pot, and leave enough for leftovers – it tastes even better the next day.

Room for pud? Try our recipe for karpatka (Polish custard slice).

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
451kcals
Fat
34.6g (14.5g saturated)
Protein
25.9g
Carbohydrates
7g (6.3g sugars)
Fibre
3.9g
Salt
3g
Calories
451kcals
Fat
34.6g (14.5g saturated)
Protein
25.9g
Carbohydrates
7g (6.3g sugars)
Fibre
3.9g
Salt
3g

Ingredients

  • Small handful (15g) dried wild or porcini mushrooms
  • 1 large knob unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 2 smoked bacon rashers, ideally thick cut, chopped
  • 250g pork belly, cubed
  • ¼ white cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tsp allspice berries, crushed
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 500g kielbasa (see Know How), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 400g sauerkraut, drained
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 15 prunes, halved (optional)
  • Small bunch dill, chopped, to serve
  • Rye bread or mashed potatoes to serve

Method

  1. Boil a kettle and put the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water, then set aside to rehydrate.
  2. Meanwhile, put a large pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once foaming, tip in the onion and cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the bacon and pork belly and cook for a further 8 minutes until everything begins to brown, then add the cabbage, spices and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the cabbage has wilted.
  3. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a few minutes more until it darkens, then add the kielbasa, sauerkraut, chicken stock and 200ml water. Add the mushrooms along with the water they were soaking in (make sure you don’t add any grit that has dropped from the mushrooms), then bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the prunes (if using) and simmer for a few minutes more – the stock should have reduced right down to a thickened sauce. Season to taste with plenty of black pepper (you won’t need any extra salt). Garnish with dill and serve with rye bread or mashed potatoes on the side.

delicious. tips

  1. This stew tastes even better the next day and can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge.

  2. Kielbasa simply means ‘sausage’ in Polish, and while the most common variety in the UK is the smoked, ready-to-eat sort, there are countless Polish sausages, each with their own flavour. For a more complex stew, head to a Polish deli and try a mix of sausages.

Recipe By

Tom Shingler

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