Hunter’s Stew/Bigos


Hunter’s Stew/Bigos
Hunter’s stew has been the Polish national dish for hundreds of years.This tempting stew can be eaten hot or cold. It is delicious when reheated, and the leftovers can be frozen for future use.


        1 16-oz. jar or can sauerkraut

        ½ c. (1 stick) butter or margarine

        2 dried mushrooms, crushed (optional)

        ½ tsp. salt; 1 tsp. black pepper

        1 tsp. marjoram; 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

        1 tsp. basil; 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

        2 tbsp. paprika; 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced

        1 6-oz. can tomato paste; 1 tbsp. sugar

        6 to 8 pitted, dried prunes; 1 small head cabbage

        2 large green apples; 2 carrots

        2 medium tomatoes; 1 medium onion

        5 c. water; ½ lb. each boneless stewing beef, pork, and venison*

        ½ lb. each smoked ham and smoked Polish sausage

        ½ c. all-purpose flour.

*In Poland, venison is commonly used in hunter’s stew, but if it’s not available you can substitute lb. of beef or an additional ¼lb. each of beef and pork. For a vegetarian stew, you can leave out the meat entirely and add extra vegetables instead.


Step 1:
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Step 2:
Place sauerkraut in colander to drain. Using your hands, squeeze out any remaining liquid. Chop sauerkraut into smaller pieces.

Step 3:
Melt ¼ c. butter or margarine in a large skillet. Add sauerkraut, mushrooms, salt, pepper, marjoram, parsley, basil, cayenne, paprika, garlic, tomato paste, and sugar and sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 4:
Chop prunes into small pieces. Core, wash, and shred cabbage. Peel, core, and chop apples into bite-sized pieces. Peel and grate carrots. Peel and chop tomatoes and onion into small pieces.

Step 5:
Place water and all ingredients from step 4 in a Dutch oven. Cover and put on middle oven rack to begin cooking.

Step 6:
Cut all meat into bite-sized pieces. Put flour into a clean paper bag. Place cubes of meat (except ham and Polish sausage) into bag, about ¼ lb. at a time, and shake to coat meat.

Step 7:
Melt remaining ¼ c. butter or margarine in a large skillet or heavy pot and brown meat (except ham and sausage) on all sides over medium-high heat.

Step 8:
Add meat, ham and sausage, and sauerkraut mixture from step 3 to Dutch oven and mix well.

Step 9:
Return stew to oven and cook for 2 to 2½ hours, or until meat is tender.

Step 10:
Serve stew hot in individual bowls along with bread, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Food: Hunter’s Stew/Bigos

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