"Bigos" ~ Polish Hunters Stew

          Watch the "Bigos"~ Polish Hunters Stew Cooking Show.

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For The Meat:

1 Pound Polish Kielbasa

1/2 Pound Slab Smoked Bacon

4-6 Thin Sliced Smoked Pork Chops

1 Pound Venison Roast or Loin

Optional Meats:

Fresh Beef Chuck Roast or Round

Fresh Pork Loin or Boston Butt

Wild Duck or Goose Breasts

Rabbit 

Vegetables And Fruit:

I/2 Head Green Cabbage

16 Ounces Sauerkraut 

(Or more if desired)

6 Dried Prunes

1or 2 Apples

1 Large Onion

2 or 3 Medium to Large Carrots

2-4 Ounces Dried Borowik Or Porcini

      Mushrooms

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley Chopped

Spices:

1 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds

1/2 Stick Butter

2-3 Garlic Cloves Minced

Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste

2 Dried Bay Leaves

Liquids:

1 1/2 - 2 Cups Beef or Chicken Broth

1 to 1&1/2 Cups Red Wine

 Ingredients                                                              Directions

First place dried Porcini or Borowick Mushrooms in a bowl, and add 1 &1/2 cup warm water then re-hydrate for abut 30-40 minutes.

Quarter Cabbage, and remove hard core stem. Slice the cabbage into coarse slices about 1/2" wide. Dice the Onion. Peel and slice carrots into nice size chunks. Cut the Dried Prunes into quarter sections. Peel, core and dice up the Apple(s) 

In a 5 quart pot, melt the 1/2 Stick Butter. Add the Cabbage, Onions, Carrots, Garlic and Caraway Seeds. Blend these ingredients and sautee' in pot over low heat for just a few minutes. Add Sauerkraut. Drain the re-hydrated Mushrooms and dice into not too small pieces and add to pot. Next add the diced Apple(s) and quartered dried Prunes. Add the Bay Leaves, and half of the Beef Broth. (Sometimes I use Chicken Broth).

Cover the pot with lid and simmer over low heat while you prepare the meat.

Dice the Slab Smoked Bacon into 1/2" to 3/4" chunks, and over medium heat, lightly brown Bacon Chunks in a skillet turning to brown all sides.

While the Bacon is Browning, slice the Kielbasa into 1/2" slices.

Add the browned Bacon to the pot leaving the grease in the pan to help brown the remaining meats.

Brown the sliced Kielbasa in the skillet with reserved Bacon grease.

While the Kielbasa is browning trim any silver skin, fat, or sinew from the Venison. Cut the Venison into 1" chunks.

Add the browned Kielbasa to the pot, cover, and brown the Venison chunks in the skillet on all sides with the reserved grease from Bacon & Kielbasa.

Add fresh ground Black Pepper to taste to the Venison as it browns.

Add Browned Venison to the pot. Add remaining Beef Broth. Blend all ingredients together, cover with lid.

Next, lightly brown the Smoked Pork Chop slices in the skillet. They do not have to be cooked for very long because they are most times already cooked in the smoking process when you buy them at the store. Place the browned Pork Chops in a dish, cover with foil, and set aside for the time being. Add most of the pan drippings at this time to the simmering pot with all the other ingredients. Blend again. Cover with lid and  Simmer over low heat, for 1- 2 hours stirring occasionally. Personally I like to simmer for a less amount of time. Like 45 minutes to 1 hour. But this is your call depending on how much you want your cabbage cooked. 

The meats are already cooked through when you initially add them to the pot. The additional simmering time allows them to become more tender.

After this simmering period over low heat, add the 1 - 1& 1/2 cup of Red Wine blend in and add reserved Smoked Pork Chops on top. Cover with lid and cook just long enough to allow the Pork Chops to warm up.

Your Bigos is now ready to serve up in a bowl. Garnish with Chopped Fresh Parsley and serve with homemade Artisan Rye Bread slices.

One thing I like to do is serve the Bigos over a bed of wide egg noodles that have been cooked al dente'. Traditionally this stew is regarded as even better when it is warmed over, and served again for subsequent meals. Sometimes I will add a mix of fresh Green & Red Cabbage, and even some Rutabagas. The important thing to remember is ingredients can vary. Many recipes call for diced up canned tomatoes to be added as well.