Bigos (Polish Hunter's Stew)

    2 hours 20 minutes

    This recipe is a well-loved Polish stew called bigos. It is full of flavour thanks to a savoury combination of sauerkraut, Polish sausage, beef, pork, red wine and more.

    7 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 1.5kg sauerkraut, rinsed if too sour, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 handful prunes
    • 2 to 3 bay leaves
    • 3 to 5 allspice berries
    • 1/2 handful dried mushrooms
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 onions, roughly diced
    • 1 Polish sausage, sliced
    • 250g beef stewing steak, diced
    • 250g pork shoulder or veal, diced
    • 100g bacon, diced
    • 150ml red wine
    • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
    • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 3 tablespoons tomato puree (optional)

    Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:2hours  ›  Ready in:2hours20min 

    1. Place sauerkraut in a large saucepan or casserole dish and cover with about 1 litre of boiling water. Add prunes, bay leaves and allspice. Simmer for 50 minutes until tender.
    2. Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the mushrooms and let soak to rehydrate, then drain and chop, reserving the liquid.
    3. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and sausage then cook while stirring until the onion is soft and sausage is browned.
    4. In a separate saucepan bring about 1 litre of water to the boil. Add beef, pork and bacon. Simmer for 20 minutes, then drain.
    5. When sauerkraut is soft, add the drained meat mixture, sausage, onions and mushrooms then mix well. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes over low heat.
    6. Pour in red wine and cook for a further 15 minutes. Season with caraway, marjoram, salt and pepper. Stir in tomato puree, if using. If the stew is dry, pour in water reserved from mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes to let the flavours combine.
    7. Enjoy straightaway, or for richer flavour continue to slow cook the stew, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally. Bigos is becomes tastier the longer you cook it.

    Watch a video of it being made…

    Stew Recipe: Bigos (Polish Hunter's Stew)
    Stew Recipe: Bigos (Polish Hunter's Stew)

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    Reviews in English (2)


    This is a very very true to form traditional recipe. You use all the ingredients that people would have been able to get in gone by years. Some add too many modern spices which would not have been used. Prunes make it special loved it  -  30 Apr 2015  (Review from Allrecipes UK & Ireland)


    Soooooo tasty. Better than my mom used to make! :o I'm not able to eat as much meat as the recipe calls for... I bought a Polish Dog at the Costco Snack bar and used that (minus the bun!). Added more vegs - carrots and celery. I also make my own sauerkraut...  -  14 Nov 2017  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)