Considered by many to be the national dish of Poland, Bigos is a hunter’s stew. You’ll find it nearly impossible to locate two identical family recipes for Bigos. Quite frankly there is no wrong way to make this.
- 4 large mushrooms, cleaned or dried (use dried mushrooms for a stronger flavor if desired)
- 1/4 Cup water
- 2 pounds sauerkraut, prepared
- 1 large apple; peeled, cored, sliced
- 20 ounces tomatoes; canned
- 5 peppercorns, whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound Polish sausage; diced
- 1 pound stewing beef
- 1 Cup bacon; coarsely chopped
- Soak dried mushrooms in 1/4 cup water for 2 hours. Bring to boil and simmer for 1/2 hour. Slice.
- Wash the sauerkraut and squeeze it. Add mushrooms and the liquid in which they were cooked. Add the apples, the tomatoes, peppercorns and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Add the meat and the bacon. Simmer 1 hour longer.
- This method differs a little bit. Rinse the sauerkraut and simmer it for about a 1/2 hour.
- In a separate pot, simmer the stewing beef for the same amount of time with whatever spices happen to fall into your hands at the time, including the peppercorns and the bay leaf.
- Meanwhile, in a large fry pan cook the bacon, a large diced onion, the Polish sausage and the mushrooms.
- Then drain the sauerkraut and mix it into the beef. Into that add and combine the bacon mixture. Simmer all for about another hour.
- Serve with steamed potatoes or rye or pumpernickel bread.
Excellent for banquets and buffet entertaining. It also freezes well.
This dish tastes best reheated the next day.