Bigos is a Polish hunter’s stew. In Alaska where I live, a hunter’s stew would be moose, caribou, bison, musk ox, deer, or the like. You would not see pork. All the meat in this recipe is pork. If you eat a lot of pork, then you might actually have a lot of this in your freezer like I do. I’m going to give you the recipe the way I made it. It serves 4 people. The base recipe feeds a ton of people and can be found at simply recipes. I make mine with prunes and beer, but simply recipes gives you an alternate to use tomato. There are also a lot of mushrooms in this. Lastly, the recipe’s original author says it’s meant to be a dry stew and I have done it that way in the past, but I like it better with more liquid. I’m telling you how to do this the way I like it.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz. dried mushrooms (porcini would be best, but I’ve never used it)
  • 1 T. bacon fat or cooking oil
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder (1-2 country-style pork ribs will do), cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
  • Salt
  • 3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, large chop (I used button and oyster)
  • 12 oz. bottle beer
  • 1/2 lb. kielbasa, cut into 1″ slices
  • 1/2 smoked ham hock (I sliced a good portion of meat off the bone to use for a different purpose. You’ll want to use the part with the bone here.)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh Polish sausage (I used 2 uncooked bratwurst), cut into 1″ slices
  • 1 lb. fresh salt-cured sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 10 prunes, sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp. horseradish (optional for a little kick)

Break the dried mushrooms into bite-size pieces and submerge in hot tap water for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, heat bacon fat or oil in a very large saucepan. Brown the pork shoulder pieces. Remove to a large bowl. In the same saucepan over medium heat, stir in onion and cabbage. Stir frequently. When it begins softening, sprinkle with salt. Once the veges are soft, remove to the bowl with the pork. Stir fresh mushrooms into the saucepan and stir over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt. Once the mushrooms are slightly browned add the beer and stir up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Strain the dried mushrooms from the soaking water and retain the water. Stir the soaked mushrooms into the saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients, except the prunes and the horseradish.

Bring to a boil. If it looks too dry, add a little of the water from the soaked dried mushrooms. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer a couple hours. Add mushroom water as necessary. Remove pork hock and let it cool until you can remove the meat from the bone. Return the meat to the saucepan and discard the pork hock bone and fat. Stir in the prunes and let simmer another thirty minutes or so.

Just prior to serving, stir in the optional horseradish. Serve with a crusty or savory bread.

Serves 4. Tastes even better as leftovers. I haven’t tried to freeze it, but I think it would freeze well. Enjoy!