1 cup prunes
20gm dried porcini or (wild forest) mushrooms (See NOTES)
2 cups stock, beef preferred, or chicken or vegetable
1 tbsp pork lard
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
half head cabbage
half a kilo of sauerkraut (See NOTES)
1kg Polish sausage (See NOTES)
1kg kabanossa (See NOTES)
1kg leftover boneless meat (See NOTES)
150g bacon cubes, around a cupful (See NOTES)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (See NOTES)
1 cup red wine
1 tsp heaped of caraway seeds
Salt and black pepper to taste
If necessary, pit the prunes. Put prunes and mushrooms into enough boiled water to soak them, set aside.
Rinse the sauerkraut and drain well. Cut sausages into 2cm - 3cm slices, meats slightly larger.
Slice the cabbage thin, place in a large heavy saucepan along with the fats. Peel the onion, quarter lengthways, add to saucepan. If using uncooked meats, add them now as well. Add caraway seeds, and saute until cabbage is reduced to about half.
Add remaining ingredients sauerkraut, tomato, stock, the soaked prunes and mushrooms and the clear liquid they were soaked in, preferably leaving the cloudy sediment out, and red wine, bring to a simmer.
Simmer for one and a half hours. Add water if needed to prevent burning, stir often.
Serve in bowls with smallish boiled peeled potatoes.
Bigos is even tastier if kept in a cool place for 24 hours and re-heated.
"Bigos" is almost a Polish national dish, it's also known as "Hunter's Stew" and was often made to use up leftover meats and smallgoods and the last of the season's sauerkraut. It's delicious served fresh, reheated, or even frozen and reheated.
- There are mixes of dried mushrooms available that are every bit as good as porcini in this recipe. I've used home-dried portobello, dried field mushrooms, and whatever comes to hand.
- Use salt-pickled sauerkraut, either home-made or store bought.
- Sausage/bacon - smoked Polish sausage can be used in place of Kabanossa, just omit the bacon or the smoked flavour becomes quite strong.
- Meats - can use fresh beef, fresh pork, leftover roast, leftover ham - pretty much whatever. Mutton is not recommended.
- If using bacon, 1cm cubes is about right, but again, whatever is to hand.
- Use 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes instead of the tinned tomatoes, if you prefer.