Bigos, a hearty stew made with assorted meat and cabbage, is the national dish of Poland. Here is a one pot version that is easier to make and retains all the complex flavors.
Keyword Meat Stew
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 2hours
Active Cook Time 30minutes
Total Time 2hours10minutes
1lbPork / BeefNotes
4CCabbageChopped (1 small head)
2CBeef or Chicken BrothNotes
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the pork/beef into 1 inch cubes. Cut the bacon into 1inch slices. Slice the sausage into bite size pieces. Chop the cabbage, onions and carrots and slice the mushrooms. Mince the onions. Rub the caraway seed in the palm of your hand and or crush lightly with a mortar and pestle. Drain all the juices out of the sauerkraut and rinse if desired.
Stock pot version
Heat the stockpot over medium heat with a light drizzle of oil. When hot add the sliced bacon and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the bacon fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and use later for garnish if desired.
Add the meat to the bacon fat in batches. Stir and turn the meat a few times and let it brown lightly on all sides. Remove each batch from the pan and reserve before adding the next one. If needed add a little oil.
Once the last batch of meat is removed from the pan add the sausage to it and let it turn lightly brown on both sides. Remove and reserve.
Add the garlic and chopped onion to the pan. Stir and cook for about a minute until the onions soften. Add the caraway seeds and stir. Add the sausage and let it cook until cook for a minute. Add the tomato paste to the pan and mix it in. If needed add ¼ C of the stock to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Return the meat to the pan, stir and cook for a minute. Add the carrots, mushrooms sauerkraut and cabbage to the pan and let cook for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and give off a water. Sprinkle the juniper berries and the prunes (if using) on top. Pour the remaining broth over it. (Notes)
Cover and let simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours checking on the stew about 40 minutes into cooking. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. If thick stew is preferred let it simmer uncovered for the last 10 to 20 minutes of cooking. For a thinner version add more stock/water/wine as desired.
Instant Pot / Electric pressure cooker
Turn on the sauté mode and follow the above steps until the stock is added. Close the lid and set the vent to sealing position. Set the IP on manual program at high pressure for 40 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for15 minutes (careful while opening the vent there will be more steam to release).
Taste and adjust salt. Press sauté mode and thicken to desired consistency.
Let cool and come to room temperature before serving. Tastes better the next day !
Pork shoulder / belly are all good cuts for this stew. If using a fattier version , drain the fat from the pan and add oil if needed.
Substitute beef / lamb for pork
If the acidity of the sauerkraut is too strong adjust with brown sugar, but if serving the next day let the stew sit and mature before adjusting for taste.
I used 50 – 50 beef and chicken broth. Use whichever you have in the pantry or substitute 20 – 50 broth and dry red wine.
The vegetables used give off a lot of water, so do not add more stock initially.
In IP the moisture loss is minimal the stew will be thinner than the stovetop version.
Browning the meat increases the flavors, but when you are in a hurry render the bacon fat and add everything else to the pot at the same time, let it slow cook or follow the IP/pressure cooker directions.
For detailed instructions go to https://oventales.com/bigo-hunters-stew/ .