Bigos is a very traditional dish in polish cuisine. It’s served during christmas, on parties or eaten as an everyday meal. It’s meant to be as a main course. You can eat it with mashed potato, however I think it’s the best served simply with a slice or two of old fashioned sour dough bread. It might seem difficult to make it- but trust me, it’s not. It’s pretty easy actually, it just takes a long time to cook, so take it into consideration when making it.
You could eat bigos the same day you made it, although the old rule is that it’s gets better with everytime you heat it up.. and apparantly it’s said to be at it’s absolute the best on the third day.
So, let’s make bigos.
Cooking time: 3-4 hours
Serves 8-10 ( you can freeze it if you don’t eat it all)
About 2-2,5 kilo of shredded white cabbage
1 kilo of sauerkraut (sour cabbage, german style) natural.
400-500g of pork neck – roughly diced
300-400g of pork belly – roughly diced
200-300g of good sausage (polish would be the best, zywiecka sausage, jalowcowa or z pod kija sausage)
2 onions- diced
5 juniper berries
4 allspice berries
50g of tomato puree
3-4 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp of paprika powder
2 cloves of garlic
20g of dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 20-30 min then chopped roughly) keep the water too.
300-400 g of dried prunes- soaked in water and chopped – keep the water.
So, use a very big pot. In the beginning it’ll seem like an insane amount of cabbage, but slowly over time, it’ll sink down a bit and whilt.
I’m using a 5-6 l pot for this. Season your meat with salt, pepper and paprika. Add minced garlic and fry the meat off until it’s golden. Then add your onion and continue to fry for 2-3 min more. Add your fresh shredded cabbage, your sauerkraut ( that you’ve squeezed the water out of and roughly chopped) , add your bayleafs, juniper, allspice, prunes with the water and mushrooms with the water. Mix well, so it’s all combined and covered in the fat that meat oozed. Add about 200-300ml of water (although the cabbage will ooze more water) and let it cook. Stir every 15 min or so. After 3 hrs taste and season with salt,pepper, vinegar, sugar and add the tomato puree. Mix in very well. At this point your meat should be very tender, cabbage should be soft and cooked and all the flavours should blend. Cook for about 30-60 min more after adding the tomato puree, so the raw flavours is cooked out. Check the seasoning at the end, then it’s ready. You can eat it as it is, but I think it’s better the next day, served with some bread. You can freeze in bags, and have a quick dinner ready whenever you need it. It looks weird- I know, but it’s simply delicious. You need to try it! Enjoy 😉