Bigos (Authentic Polish Hunter’s Stew w/ Polish Sausage)

First, I want to apologize for my absence from the world wide web.  It was a crazy two weeks at work, and I kind of wonder how I survived it.  Normally, when I’m stressed I like to cook– but this time I just needed to curl up, hug my family and/or puppy, and sleep…..   Thankfully, I think I’m getting back to normal which means that I can put my free-time focus back to the kitchen.  

This weekend was the first time in many days that I knew my work phone wasn’t going to ring.  To celebrate, I decided to whip up one of my all time favorites!  What made it even better was that it fit in perfectly with the Sunday Supper theme of “Dishes that Keep you Warm”.

Bigos, or Hunter’s Stew, is a traditional Polish stew made with meat, lots of cabbage, mushrooms, and lots of yummy spices and flavorings.  Between shopping and cooking, it takes a half a day to do it right, but it’s totally worth it.  The directions below are for a single batch, but I ALWAYS double it.  It freezes so well, and it’s one of those meals that tastes even better the second and third day.  You can’t make too much of this stuff.  Just look at how warm and comforting it looks— don’t you want to dive right in to those hearty chunks of tender meat and golden potatoes?

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1.5 lbs of Polish sausage (smoked kielbasa works great), sliced
  • 1 lb of beet stew meat
  • flour for dredging
  • oil for frying
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (button or a mix of button and portabella)
  • 1 large head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pound of sauerkraut, drained, rinsed in water two times, and liquid pressed out
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • dash of Tabasco
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash or two of *Maggi (or other Swiss style) seasoning  (*see Note below)
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 5 cups beef broth

Directions

In a very large, oven-safe stock pot (or dutch oven), cook the bacon until it turns a light brown.  Do not let it turn crispy.  Remove the bacon and place into a large bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.  When cooled, cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces. 

Meanwhile, add the sliced Polish sausage to the stock pot and cook until it turns brown. Remove the sausage and place in the bowl with the cut bacon, also leaving the rendered oil in the pot.

Dredge the beef stew meat in flour and fry in the stock pot for about 5 minutes.  Add vegetable oil, if needed.  Remove the beef and place in bowl with the rest of the meat.  Set aside the bowl of cooked meat.

In the same stock pot, add the garlic, onion, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, and sauerkraut.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and start to release their moisture.  Add the bay leaf, basil, marjoram, paprika and caraway seeds and cook for an additional minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the meat, and cook on low, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil.  

Add the meat back in to the pot and stir.  Cover tightly and place in an oven on 350 degrees for approximately 3 hours.  Serve over a serving of mashed potatoes. (I like to use a Yukon Gold or another similar golden potato for this dish)

*Note on Maggi-  I’ve received some questions about Maggi.  This is a seasoning that I’m sure you’ll be able to find at your local grocery store, but you may need to look around a bit.  Sometimes it’s found near the condiments like liquid smoke.  Other times, it’s near the ethnic foods/sauces like soy sauce.  I’ve even seen it by the gravy and broth.  It may only be a few dashes, but it really makes the taste come together.  Try not to skip it. I’m a huge Maggi fan.

If you like this, you’re surely love the rest of what we’re featuring this week!  We have over 50 contributors bringing you their best warm you up dishes. We have everything from stews, soups, main entrees and even some hot drinks and desserts. 

Just look at the list below that is coming to the #SundaySupper table this week!

Main Entrees:
Carrot, Parsnip and Lentil Casserole – Happy Baking Days
Chicken with Herbed Dumplings – Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
Chicken pot pie – Gotta Get Baked
Cholula Chicken Enchiladas – Kwistin’s Favorites
Eggplant Parmesan – The Hand That Rocks The Ladle
Roasted Roots and Fruits with Sausage – Shockingly Delicious

Chili/Stews:
Beer-Braised Beef – Sustainable Dad
Bigos {Authentic Polish Hunter’s Stew} – From Fast Food to Fresh Food
Brunswick Stew and Rice – Big Bear’s Wife
Calico Beans – Home Cooking Memories
Carbonnade Flamande – The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chicken Cacciatore {Hunter Style Stew} with Easy Creamy Polenta –Webicurean
Chicken & Mushroom Stew On Egg Noodles – Galactosemia in PDX
Cowboy Beef Stew – Comfy Cuisine
Ham and String Beans – Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Hearty Moose Meatball Stew – Mrs. Mama Hen
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Lentil and Chorizo Stew – Vintage Kitchen Notes
Seafood Gumbo and Soul Warming #SundaySupper Wine Pairings – ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Soul Warming Hearty Beef Stew – In The Kitchen With KP

Soups:
30 Minute Black Bean Soup – Supper for a Steal
Black Bean Soup – Basic and Delicious
Black Bean Soup with Hot Roast Pepper Cream – The Lovely Pantry
Canadian Beer Cheese Soup – Juanita’s Cocina
Chicken Soup with Dumplings – The Messy Baker
Chicken Tortilla Soup – Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
Coconut Curry Chicken Soup – Damn Delicious
Easy Chicken and Dumplings – My Catholic Kitchen
Easy Italian Wedding Soup – Family Foodie
Easy Wonton Soup – Soni’s Food
French Onion Soup – Momma’s Meals
Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings – I Run For Wine
Lasagna Soup – Cravings of a Lunatic
Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup – Mangiamo
Lentil and Bacon Soup – Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Lentil Soup with Spinach – Mama’s Blissful Bites
Peppery Mulligatawny Soup with Cherry Tomatoes & Cilantro – Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Pozolillo Verde {Green Chicken & Corn Pozole} – La Cocina de Leslie
Red Lentil Soup with Crispy Aromatic Coriander – Chattering Kitchen
Roasted Jalapeno Soup – Chocolate Moosey
Rule of Thirds Soup – What Smells So Good?
Seafood Chowder – Noshing with the Nolands
Spanish Garlic Soup – Pippi’s In The Kitchen Again
Spicy Gumbo Z’herbes – Pescetarian Journal
Spicy Korean Brisket Soup {Yukgaejang} – Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends
Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup {Jjamppong} – Kimchi Mom
Spicy Udon Noodle Soup – My Trials In The Kitchen
Turkey Noodle Soup – Magnolia Days
Tuscan Bean Soup – The Wimpy Vegetarian
Twisted Chicken Noodle Soup – The Meltaways
Warm You Up Spicy Bacon Cheeseburger Soup – Daily Dish Recipes

Desserts/Beverages:
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
White Hot Chocolate with Orange – GirliChef

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