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Bigos – Polish hunter’s stew (Poland)

Bigos - (pronounced bee-GOHSH) is the national dish of Poland. It can vary by region and by family, but most contain meat and cabbage. Some use sauerkraut instead of (or in addition to) cabbage, some will add pork and others wild game, etc. The idea, according to tradition, is to use whatever meat you have on hand.


- 1 medium head of green cabbage

- 1½ cups sliced mushrooms

- 1 cup shredded carrots

- 2 tablespoons tomato paste

- 1 pound (precooked) sausage or kielbasa

- 1½ teaspoons ground allspice

- 2 tablespoons butter

- 1 bay leaf

- 1 pound smoked bacon

- Freshly ground black pepper to taste

- Salt to taste

- 4 cups chicken stock


Wash and shred cabbage. Put in a pot with the shredded carrots and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and boil 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Cut kielbasa into about 1-inch pieces. Brown in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer to pot with cabbage mixture.

In same pan, fry bacon. Drain off excess fat, cool enough to handle and then cut into bite-size pieces. Add to pot with the kielbasa and vegetable mixture. On the same skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add onion and continue to cook until translucent. Add to cabbage mixture along with tomato paste and spices.

To the cabbage mixture add chicken stock and simmer, covered, over a low heat for an hour.

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