Bigos is a Polish and Latvian dish which is immensely popular in post-soviet countries. Many men still associate this dish to their army days as in Russian army bigos is just as celebrated as barley porridge with meat. There are even several recipes known as Army-style Bigos. Others call bigos solyanka which is not far from the truth, because bigos uses same ingredients as meat solyanka.
Bigos is a time consuming. It demands much time both at the stage of preparation and in the cooking process. In the past it was prepared in pubs and inns. The pot with bigos was always heated by the fire, thereby the process of stewing cabbage and meat lasted for a few days. Today, the stewing process can be accelerated with the use of a slow or a pressure cooker.
There is a huge mass of recipe’s variations, but in late traditional performance bigos was always prepared with two types of cabbage: sauerkraut and fresh cabbage. Meat compound of the dish includes pork, beef, poultry, and different types of smoked meat. The more diverse the set of meat is, the more refined is the taste. Interestingly, in the oldest recipes of bigos no cabbage was mentioned, it was purely hunters’ meat or fish stew, which was heavily seasoned, flavored with wine vinegar and various sour vegetables like gooseberries or sorrel.
Bigos is a great option if you want to prepare a hearty dish to last for a few days, it can be perfectly stored in the refrigerator without losing its taste.
So, for the preparation of bigos you need:
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17-18 oz sauerkraut
14-15 oz fresh cabbage
17-18 oz fried or boiled meat (pork, beef)
8-9 oz smoked salami
2-3 oz bacon
1.5 cup stock
12 pitted prunes
2 big onions
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Cut meat and sausages into small pieces, finely chop prunes and cover with water or wine to your taste. Lay cabbage into a saucepan and cover with broth, simmer on medium heat for 50 minutes. Cut apples into large slices and add to the cabbage.
Then cut bacon into small pieces, fry it, add onions and sauté until golden brown. Add meat, onion, bacon, tomato paste to the cabbage and bring to a boil.
In the end add the prunes. If you soaked then in wine, add them with wine. Add salt, pepper and spices to taste. Simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bigos becomes even more delicious if you put it in the refrigerator, and then stew it again. Serve hot.
Enjoy your hearty meal!