Bigos Stew (Polish Hunter’s Stew) – Supergolden Bakes
Bigos is arguably the most abundant of all winter stews! This traditional Polish dish combines smoked sausages, meat, sauerkraut, cabbage and prunes, a real “sticking to the ribs” meal! My Slow Cooker Bigos recipe is great in flavor with minimal preparation.
You may also be interested in trying my venison stew recipe!
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My husband LOVES Polish food. This is because an ex-girlfriend’s grandmother filled it with pierogi and other delicious treats… but I’m not going to have that against her!
This amazing Bigos stew (aka hunter’s stew) was made as a gift for him, but it feeds a real crowd! Luckily, Bigos tastes even better after a few days in the fridge…
WHAT GOES IN BIGOS STEW?
This hunter’s stew has as many variations as cooks. However, some elements are constant, let’s break it down!
MEAT: I have used boneless pork shoulder in this recipe. You can also use loin fillets or even a mixture of pork and beef. Since this is a “hunter’s stew”, you can also launch the game. I also added striped bacon!
SAUSAGES: Look for Kielbasa (thickly smoked Polish sausage) and Kabanos (finely smoked Polish sausage). Kielbasa is quite easy to find these days: ethnic shops and the Polish section in large supermarkets usually sell a variety of sausages.
CHUCRUT: If you can, use fresh organic raw sauerkraut that is kept in the fridge and contains only cabbage and salt. If you buy the type of jars that contain vinegar, you may want to wash it first.
CABBAGE: White cabbage plus sauerkraut? Yes. My kind of stew!
Mushrooms: Dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, and their soaking liquid add depth of flavor. You can also add some fresh mushrooms if you wish.
Prunes: It may sound a little strange, but prunes add a touch of sweetness and balance the fleshiness of the stew. You could also add some apples.
HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER BIGOS
measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before trying this recipe!
STEP 1 Place the dried mushrooms in a measuring jar and add the boiling water. Set them aside while preparing the meat.
STEP 2 Fry the bacon in a large saucepan or in a large saucepan, until it begins to crunch a little. Add the diced sausages and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to your slow cooker.
STEP 3 Brown the pork, in the same pan, adding a little oil so that it does not stick. You may need to do this in batches. Transfer to the cooking pot.
STEP 4 Add the onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a splash of beer or broth if the pan gets too dry and then add to the slow cooker.
STEP 5 Quickly stir everything in the slow cooker. Add prunes, porcini mushrooms and their liquid, sauerkraut, tomato paste, bay leaves, seasonings, broth and beer. Cover and cook in the LOW setting for 8-10 hours (or even overnight).
STEP 6 Discard the bay leaves and check the seasoning. Serve hot with rye bread or over mashed potatoes.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Bigos can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a saucepan before serving, adding some water if needed.
You can also freeze the stew, in portions, for up to three months. Be sure to always leave some space in your container for the liquid in the stew to expand as it freezes. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.
TIPS AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Use different types of meat or combinations of meat and game. Don’t use lean cuts of meat (like pork loin, for example), you need meat that loves slow cooking!
- If your sauerkraut contains vinegar, you may want to rinse it off and wring it out first.
- This hearty stew is suitable for the Keto diet minus prunes.
- Add salt at the end. Since sausages and sauerkraut can be quite salty, it is best to season the stew at the end of cooking.
- Meat and sausages should be browned before being added to the slow cooker. I suspect you could also just add everything to the slow cooker and let it do its own thing, but for best results, follow the first steps.
HAVE YOU MADE MY BIGOS STEW RECIPE? Please leave a rating, post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram or save it on Pinterest with the tag #supergoldenbakes and brighten my day!