Bigos | Hunter’s Stew

Finding feasts - Bigos | Hunter's Stew

Ingredients

500g white fresh cabbage
500g sauerkraut (Krakus)
250g pork neck
250g beef – lean (I used large beef chunks)
200g smoked speck (cut into 1 cm pieces)
2 onions (chopped)
10 mushrooms (slippery jacks or porcini, mum said 5 but I love mushrooms!)
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
5 prunes
1/2 cup tomato passata
oil for frying

Method

Step 1
Start off by soaking the dried mushrooms in boiling water. I used my dried slippery jacks from last season. It does not matter if you don’t have slippery jacks, you can easily use porcini mushrooms as they are from the same boletus family.

Step 2
To boiling water add the pork neck and beef and boil it for approx 15 minutes, just until it is cooked through. You need enough water to ensure that the meat is covered. Cut both the beef and pork neck into 1 cm pieces and set aside.
Important: Save the meat stock as you will need this for the next step.

Step 3
Cut the cabbage into small shavings. I recently pick up a fantastic shaving utensil from the markets and it basically shreds by cabbage in minutes! Add the cabbage to a large stock pot, add the meat broth and cook it until it is just soft. It is not necessary to cook it for long due to the fact that the whole bigos cooking process takes about 2-3 hours.

Step 4
Wash the sauerkraut over water. This ensures that you get rid of the extra sourness. We want that kick, but you don’t want the bigos over powered by the sauerkraut. I generally wash it at least 2 times and give the sauerkraut a good squash to get rid of the extra juices. The sour juices can actually be saved to a Polish soup called Kaupsniak.
Once you have the sauerkraut quite dry, chop it roughly.
Add the sauerkraut to the fresh cabbage that is cooking down in the stock pot. If it is too dry I add a little water or I add the stock from the dried mushrooms. Turn the heat down to a slow simmer.

Step 5
Thinly slice the dried prunes and mushrooms and add to the cabbage / sauerkraut mixture along with the 2 bay leaves.

Step 6
To a separate pan add oil and smoked speck and start to brown it off.
Add onions and continue to brown this off.
When you see the onions turn translucent add the pork neck and beef and brown this off quite well.
You don’t want the meat burnt but you do want it to have a brown smoky tinge to it.

Bigos | Hunter's Stew

Step 7
Add the meat and onion mixture to the cabbage cooking down in the stock pot, mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Bigos | Hunter's Stew

Add the 1/2 cup of tomato pasatta, mum used to make a tomato based bigos when I was growing up and I love the flavour that it adds.
Remember that this is a dry stew so it does not need to be covered up in stock.
You need to let it slow cook for about 2-3 hours, making sure that you stir it.

Step 8
Enjoy!!!

Bigos | Hunter's Stew

Bigos | Hunter's Stew

Bigos or Hunters Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine: Polish
 
Ingredients
  • 500g white fresh cabbage
  • 500g sauerkraut (Krakus)
  • 250g pork neck
  • 250g beef – lean (I used large beef chunks)
  • 200g smoked speck (cut into 1 cm pieces)
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 10 mushrooms (slippery jacks or porcini, mum said 5 but I love mushrooms!)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • 5 prunes
  • ½ cup tomato passata
  • oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water.
  2. To boiling water add pork neck and beef and boil it for approx 15 minutes, just until it is cooked through. You need enough water to ensure that the meat is covered.
  3. Cut both the beef and pork neck into 1 cm pieces and set aside. Save the meat stock as you will need this for the next step.
  4. Cut the cabbage into small shavings. Add the cabbage to a large stock pot, add the meat broth and cook it until it is just soft.
  5. Wash the sauerkraut in water.
  6. Give the sauerkraut a good squash to get rid of the extra juices. Once you have the sauerkraut quite dry, chop it roughly.
  7. Add the sauerkraut to the fresh cabbage that is cooking down in the stock pot. If it is too dry I add a little water or I add the stock from the dried mushrooms. Turn the heat down to a slow simmer.
  8. Thinly slice the dried prunes and mushrooms and add to the cabbage / sauerkraut mixture along with the 2 bay leaves.
  9. To a separate pan add oil and smoked speck and start to brown it off.
  10. Add onions and continue to brown this off. When you see the onions turn translucent add the pork neck and beef and brown off further.
  11. Add the meat and onion mixture to the cabbage cooking down in the stock pot, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Add the ½ cup of tomato pasatta. Remember that this is a dry stew so it does not need to be covered up in stock.
  13. You need to let it slow cook for about 2-3 hours, making sure that you stir it.
  14. Enjoy!

 

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