Monday, November 11, 2019
Bigos ~ Polish Hunter Stew
I love food with a story. This story comes from my friend Eva, who grew up in Poland. On a crisp winter's day, she recalls, her family would take a sleigh ride to a clearing in the woods, where someone had gone ahead to start a fire and heat a pot of bigos. They gathered round and ate it with dark bread and vodka (for the grown ups) and hot chocolate (for the kiddos). Wouldn't that just warm a winter's day.
I also love that this old Polish stew can be made entirely with Saskatchewan ingredients from the wild mushrooms to the juniper berries, various meats to cabbage and sauerkraut (*look for Kissel sauerkraut at your local produce section ~ it's made in Lumsden), garden tomatoes to local honey.
By tradition, bigos is reheated and reheated again, adding leftover meat from dinner (a pot roast, garlic sausage, wild venison...) to keep it going like a "bottomless pot" all week long, ready to warm any friends or family who might arrive from the cold.
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
(or 1 cup fresh mushrooms)
1 1/ cup boiling water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 juniper berries, crushed
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
1 cup leftover roast meat
6–8 canned tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium cabbage head, shaved
1/2 lb sauerkraut
2 tbsp plum jam or honey
1. Soak dried mushrooms in boiling water to soften. Do not discard the water.
2. Heat the oil in a big stew pot. Cook the onion until soft. Stir in juniper berries, salt and pepper. Add garlic and bacon. Cook until the onions and bacon are soft.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients except the jam/honey. Add enough water to almost cover everything. Cover the pot and simmer for several hours, until the cabbage is meltingly soft.
4. Stir in the plum jam or honey. Bigos is traditionally served with whole wheat bread and a glass of chilled vodka. Or hot chocolate for the children.
This recipe is from my historic cookbook Out of Old Saskatchewan Kitchens
Posted by Amy Jo Ehman at 7:41 pm