Make Bigos yourself!


Bigos is a stew with sauerkraut, white cabbage and meat popular in Poland. Imago/agefotostock

What do you think of when you think of Polish cuisine? Maybe to the popular cake Karpatka? Maybe to Pierogi? Definitely the Bigos sauerkraut stew. Because it is considered the national dish of Poland – even though it is also very common in other countries such as Belarus and Lithuania.

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The dish was first mentioned in the 15th century. However, historians assume that it is much older. After all, it offered many advantages: It is a classic pot dish – and can be kept for a comparatively long time after preparation. And so that your mouth doesn’t water even more, here is the recipe for Bigos!

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The ingredients for delicious bigos like from Poland

For 5 people you need 500 grams of fresh sauerkraut, 350 grams of white cabbage, 200 grams of beef, 200 grams of pork, 200 grams of sausage (krakauer, kabanossi or other Silesian sausage), 2 onions, 1 clove of garlic, 10 grams of smoked bacon, 300 milliliters of beef broth, 5 allspice, 5 juniper berries, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, cumin, marjoram, pepper, salt, oil for frying.

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Bigos is often made in large portions for the whole family. Imago/YAY Images

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The recipe for Polish Bigos

Here’s how it works: The most important instruction when making Bigos is: Give yourself and the dish time, because the longer it stews, the better it will be in the end.

First you need to prepare the ingredients. Drain the fresh sauerkraut and cut it so that the cabbage threads are no longer than 5 centimeters. Cut the fresh white cabbage in the same way. Cut the meat and the sausage into pieces with an edge length of one to two centimetres. The onions and garlic are chopped and then the cooking begins.

Heat the oil in a very large pot and fry the meat (not the sausage) in it in individual portions on all sides, then remove and store in a bowl.

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Then add the bacon, onions and garlic to the same pot. When both are translucent, first add the white cabbage and a few minutes later the sauerkraut and tomato paste. Mix everything together and continue frying.

When the white cabbage has collapsed, add the allspice, juniper berries, cumin, marjoram and the meat to the saucepan, stir everything together and deglaze with the beef broth. Season with salt and pepper too.

Now close the lid and let everything simmer for two hours. Check the pot from time to time to make sure nothing is burning. If the worst comes to the worst, add broth or water.

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After two hours, the meat should be tender and have taken on the flavors of the spices. Now put the sausage in the pot and let it cook for another 20 to 25 minutes with the lid open so that the liquid can reduce better.

A good dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche goes well with Bigos. Enjoy your meal!

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