Nothing captures the flavor of the autumn and winter seasons quite like the traditional Polish Hunter’s Stew! Called “Bigos” in Polish, it’s a flavorful mix of stewed cabbage & sauerkraut combined with forest mushrooms, a mix of smoked kielbasa and bacon (+ a beef or pork roast, if you like), all seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices like cloves, allspice, pepper, & bay leaves. It’s a very hearty dish with a sour taste and smokey flavors that are sure to warm the body and the heart during cold weather months!
Take a look below for a classic Bigos recipe with ingredients from Polana. We offer two versions - a quick option with ready-made foods from our store or a full version with instructions on how to make this dish from scratch based on an authentic old Polish recipe!
Bigos QUICK Recipe
- 1 small onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 link of Hunter’s Sausage
- ½ of Hunter's Bacon
- Optional: 1/4 lb. of cooked pork meat (ex. Pork neck)
- 1 container of Polana sauerkraut & mushroom stew
- ¼ cup of dark beer
- 1 packet of Bigos Seasoning
- Defrost or thaw out Polana sauerkraut & mushroom stew
- If you do choose to incorporate the pork meat, dice it and fry in oil until golden brown. Salt it, and/or add your favorite seasonings and spices to make it more flavorful.
- Dice the onion and garlic cloves and toss into a medium pot over a bit of oil. Begin sautéing.
- Cut the Hunter’s Sausage link and ham into small, quarter pieces and add to the onions in the pan and fry all ingredients until golden brown
- Pour the thawed sauerkraut & mushroom stew into the pot over the other ingredients and stir thoroughly.
- Allow the stew to gradually come to a light simmer. As the stew heats, add in the pork & a bit of its cooking juice (if you choose) as well as the beer, then salt, pepper and 2-3 tsps. of Kamis Bigos Seasoning to taste. Stir well to blend all ingredients and flavors thoroughly.
- Keep the stew on a low simmer for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine thoroughly.
- Enjoy with a slice of one of our traditional Polish sourdough bread!
Bigos Full, Old Polish Recipe
- 1 lb of fresh white cabbage
- 1 lb. of sauerkraut
- 10 oz of pork
- 1.5 oz of dried mushrooms
- 7 oz (1.5 links) of Hunter’s Sausage
- 5 oz of Hunter's Bacon
- 1 onion
- 3.5 oz of dried, smoked plums
- 1 cup of dry red wine
- 2 grains of allspice
- 5 grains of black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 juniper seeds
- 2 cloves
- frying oil
- Pour the mushrooms into a small pot and over with 2 cups of cold water. Leave them soaking for a few hours, or preferably overnight.
- Boil the soaked mushrooms in the same soaking water until they are soft. (Cooking time is approx. 30 minutes). Drain the mushrooms and cut into strips. Keep the mushroom decoction!
- Rinse the sauerkraut, drain it, chop it finely and put it in a pot. Pour a small amount of boiling water (just enough so that the water covers the cabbage) and cook, covered, until tender (about 1 hour).
- Clean the white cabbage from the outer leaves, shred, pour a small amount of boiling water (enough for the water to cover the cabbage). Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until tender (about 30 minutes).
- Drain the cooked cabbage and combine in one pot. Add the chopped mushrooms and the mushroom decoction and the spices: allspice, pepper, bay leaves, juniper seeds and cloves.
- Dice the meat and fry in oil until golden brown. Salt it.
- Separately, fry the diced onion with diced bacon and sausage. Add to the cabbage along with the meat. Add the sliced plums. Add the red wine. Cover the pot, leaving a small gap, and cook for at least 1 hour. After cooking, season the bigos with salt and pepper to taste, leave to cool, and then set aside in a cool place.
- The bigos flavors and aromas combine better over time. For best taste, for the next 2-3 days, bring the bigos back to a simmer for a few minutes. If there is too much liquid, let it evaporate and cool again. On the third day, the bigos is ready to eat. You can also freeze it or put it hot in jars, close it, leave it to cool, put it in the fridge and consume it for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe inspired by a classic old Polish Hunter’s Stew recipe from kuchnia-domowa.pl