How to Make Bigos

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Posted by Florian 29/09/2019 0 Comment(s) Florian's Kitchen,

 

As the weather cools outside, our thoughts turn to stews and soups, dishes that “warm you from the inside out.” Hearty dishes, like the one I’m about to share with you, that are the product of what was available.

The gardens have long yielded their fresh vegetables for the season, so the vegetables in soups and stews are kept in the root cellar, so named because it kept ‘root’ vegetables such as potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and cabbage, fresh for long periods of time. The meats, of course, were the product of the daily hunt, and vary the recipes based on what the hunt yielded that day.

Another traditional dish of my Slavic ancestors is called Bigos. Most families had their own recipe for this dish. For that reason, and since it’s mostly meat with little vegetable content other than what can be stored, many chefs call it “Polish Chili.” It is meant to cook in big pots, simmered for hours, and to be shared with your neighbors.

The following is a basic recipe for Bigos. Adjust seasonings to taste, of course, and I recommend serving it with a dark course, artisan bread.

Bigos

Ingredients:

Vegetables:

1 ¾ lbs. of sauerkraut

1 head green cabbage

2 cups fresh mushrooms (any kind)

1 onion

1 cup pitted prunes/raisins

Meat:

1 lb. venison, cut into 1inch cubes

½ lb. stew meat, cut into 1inch cubes

½ lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1inch cubes

½ lb. kielbasa sausage, sliced

You will also need:

¼ cup flour

3 tbsp. Cooking oil

1 cup dry red wine

Salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Drain the sauerkraut.
    1. Add 2 cups of water, and 4 strips of bacon, cut up.
    2. Place in a saucepan, cover, and
    3. boil over medium heat until the sauerkraut is tender, and the bacon pieces are cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, put the fresh cabbage and mushrooms into a separate saucepan.
    1. Cover with water and boil until the cabbage is tender.
    2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Rinse all the meat and pat dry.
    1. Put the cup of flour in a bowl and
    2. toss the cubed meat in the flour to coat.

It’s time to get your large stew pot involved. 

  1. Put the cooking oil in the bottom and sauté your diced onion over medium heat.
    1. Take your cubed floured meat and brown it in the onion and oil to sear the meat.
  2. When all the meat is browned,
    1. raise the heat to high,
    2. pour in the wine and boil briefly
  3. Add the contents of your sauerkraut and bacon pan and the drained cabbage to the pan
  4. Add the raisins (or prunes) and the kielbasa sausage to the pot.
    1. Season to taste and
    2. simmer the stew for 2-3 hours until the meat falls apart and the juice is nice and brown.
  5. Time to serve!!

Remember, Bigos s is meant to be served with the meat, cabbage, and kraut to all be melded together and not be watery like a traditional stew. Serve it with the dark bread and enjoy!!

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