Bigos is a traditional Polish sauerkraut stew. Hearty, sticky and full of meaty flavours of pork, beef, smoked speck and sausages. Perfect for the sort of cold and rainy weather we have been having here in Sydney over these past few days.
The following rendition of the traditional Polish sauerkraut, sausage and meat stew has come a long way from its peasant beginnings. Spiked with a little red wine for deep colour and flavour and with a helping of lemon zest, it is a more festive rendition of the popular dish. And that much more flavourful. Smoky chorizo instead of traditional Polish juniper or garlic sausage adds a hint of warmth to the dish too.
Served with a nice hunk of sourdough or steamed potatoes (for a gluten free version), it is best made a day ahead and cooked again the next day for an extra 30 minutes or so. But as you know, I don’t like recipes that take 24 hours to make so normally I just cook it once. The flavours and textures are there already, but perhaps not as intense as the would be the next day. Having said that there is sure to be leftovers so feel free to try both and compare.
Bigos freezes well, and since it takes a good couple of hours to make, it pays to make a little extra and save it for another day. Move over Reuben sandwich I say!
Speaking of sandwiches and gluten free food, I have 5 double passes to the Irresistible Gluten Free Food Show being held in Melbourne 24 – 25 September. To win one of the passes, all you have to do is leave a comment below including a #gf tag in your comment to distinguish you from others. Entries close midnight AEST, Friday, 16 September 2011. Winner will be contacted via email on September 17.
Bigos a sauerkraut, sausage and meat stew
Again, long list of ingredients, but most get thrown in at the same time. You can buy sauerkraut (or weinkraut) from most major supermarkets and European delis. I like the Krakus brand because the cabbage is actually quite firm and crunchy and not too sour. Instead of Polish smoked sausage, I used Chorizo which is very similar and readily available from any supermarket.
For the sauerkraut stew:
- 1kg sauerkraut (Krakus sauerkraut comes in 936g jars)
- 200g diced pork
- 200g diced beef
- 100g speck // or streaky bacon
- 100g dried pitted prunes
- 1 brown onion
- 1 chorizo
- 10g dried porcini
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 whole allpsice seeds (pimento seeds)
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup red wine (Merlot)
- 1 strip of lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- sunflower or canola oil
To prepare the ingredients: Dice chorizo and speck into bite sized pieces. Dice onion. Break up porcini mushrooms into little pieces.
To prepare the stew: heat 1 tbsp oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Brown onion, chorizo and speck, mixing regularly. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat another 1 tbsp oil and cook both pork and beef for 5 minutes, or until browned. Add sauerkraut together with the cooked chorizo, speck and onion and all the other ingredients. Mix well.
Cover with a lid, bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 1-2 hours or until meat is tender and falling apart to the touch.
To serve: spoon bigos into a serving bowl, serve alongside mash potato or bread.