Polish Hunter’s Stew
If you’ve never had Polish Hunter’s Stew, known as Bigos, it’s fantastic! Traditionally a winter stew that was made to help pump the lifeblood back into someone (let’s be honest, Polish winters are brutal), you don’t have to be a fan of sauerkraut to enjoy it. The flavors mute while cooking and the result is a fantastic creamy stew that is so so so fantastic, all you want to do is eat and eat and eat. I’ve had worse problems in life than wanting to eat all the bigos. Homemade sauerkraut is best for this dish – I make my sauerkraut by the 2 liter container and weight out how much I need. You can buy sauerkraut for this dish, but make sure it’s a good quality sauerkraut, many of the canned stuff and even the “barrel cured” brands have cruddy additives in it.
This is one stew that really does get better with age. It was about day 3 of leftovers and everything was enhanced and fantastic. Enjoy it the first night and love it a few days in! Either way, here’s a fantastic stew if you find yourself with a superabundance of homemade sauerkraut (not that that ever really happens in my household).
Polish Hunter’s Stew
- 1 ½ lb Sauerkraut, drained
- ¼ of a large head cabbage, shredded
- 6 slices organic pasture-raised Bacon, sliced
- 2 large Onions, chopped
- 3 heads organic garlic, minced
- 2 organic pasture-raised pork Kielbasa
- 1 lb organic pasture-raised Ground Pork
- 1 oz dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 6 cups Beef Bone Broth
- ½ tsp ground Allspice
- 6 whole Juniper berries
- ½ tsp Caraway Seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Over medium and in a large dutch oven, cook bacon until browned and remove from dutch oven, keeping bacon fat in pan.
- Add Kielbasa and ground pork and cook meat until lightly browned.
- Toss in onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes more, until lightly golden brown.
- Meanwhile, if sauerkraut is overly “krauty”, rinse in a colander and drain. Boil about two cups of water and remove from heat. Add dried mushrooms to reconstitute.
- Reduce heat to low and add sauerkraut, cabbage and reconstituted mushrooms with the mushroom water. Stir.
- Add all the spices and stir to incorporate.
- Cook for two hours over low heat. Serve warm.