Bigos is a dish made from cabbage and meat. These are, of course, only the basic ingredients of this dish, apart from those you can also find mushrooms, prunes, onion and spices in this stew. I use a mixture of sauerkraut and raw cabbage in proportions of half and half to prepare the bigos. I think most of you do likewise. When it comes to the selection of meats to add to the stew, the list is long. In fact, most meats and cold cuts are suitable for this cabbage stew. You can go for pork loin, pork knuckle, shoulder or pork neck. In addition, sausage is also an important element of bigos. Or in my case it is usually smoked bacon and sausage, not only sausage. After boiling or sautéing, all the ingredients for the stew go in one pot and the slow cooking process can begin. Bigos has a characteristic that the longer it is cooked, the tastier it is, so it is worth slow cooking it for a few days, at least two. I serve bigos for dinner or as a hot dish at parties.
Ingredients for bigos.
- 800 g sauerkraut
- 800 g fresh cabbage
- 400 g smoked sausage
- 200 g smoked bacon
- 100 g prunes
- 20 g dried forest mushrooms
- 5 juniper berries
- 5 allspice berries
- 200 g onion
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 600 g boneless and skinless pork knuckle
- 1 teaspoon of carraway seeds
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1.3 l water + extra for pre-cooking the cabbage
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika powder
How to prepare bigos.
Place the forest mushrooms in a bowl, pour cold water over them and let them stand for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight. Drain the water and cut the mushrooms into small strips.
Lightly squeeze the sauerkraut from its juice, slightly chop it and put it in a pot. Pour 1.2 l of water, bring it to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the raw cabbage with a knife or cut it on a shredder, put it in a separate pot, add water and bring it to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, afterwards pour the cabbage into a colander, then put it into the pot in which the sauerkraut is being cooked. Boil the cabbages together for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, dice the bacon and sausage, put them in a pan and fry over a low heat for 5 minutes. Then, add the diced onion and continue frying for another 5 minutes. Dice the meat, put it in a pan with the oil. Fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes. After that, pour in 100 ml of water and cook for another 20 minutes.
After an hour of boiling both cabbages, add the fried bacon with sausage, fried pork knuckle, sliced mushrooms, prunes, juniper, allspice, bay leaves, carraway, pepper, salt, tomato puree and ground paprika. Bring the bigos to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer with a slightly open lid for 2.5 hours. Stir the bigos from time to time. On the second day, put the bigos on the heat again and this time simmer it for 3 hours, also over very low heat. Serve the bigos with bread or mashed potatoes.
Good to know when making bigos.
I only rinse sauerkraut when it is very sour. First, I always check its taste and if it is too acidic, I rinse it in cold water. However, this happens quite rarely, because in general the sauerkraut I use is perfect, not too sour.
You can freeze bigos. After cooking, it should be cooled down, put into plastic bags or containers and tightly closed. It can be stored in the freezer for 3-4 months.
I don’t pour out the water from the soaked forest mushrooms, I always add it to the stew.
The prunes can be cut into smaller pieces before adding them to the bigos. I normally cut each big prune in half. If you have no prunes, you can use plum jam instead.
I stewed the bigos from the above recipe for two days. On the first day, I stewed it for 2.5 hours and on the second day for 3 hours.
Do you like dishes made from cabbage? If so, try our recipe for Lazy cabbage rolls.