Bigos - Polish savory stew of cabbage and meat...

This is very popular dish in Poland. No party, celebration (especially in Silesia and Mountain's region) can be without it! It's also traditionally served on the Christmas Day. I like it a lot. There are many versions of bigos - I would say that each family have their own, unique recipe. This is how my Hubby makes it - and it's great :) But I still miss my Dad's bigos - can't recreate it!

"Bigos - a savory stew of cabbage and meat... Typical ingredients include fresh and fermented white cabbage (sauerkraut, 'kapusta kiszona' in Polish), various cuts of meat and sausages, often whole or puréed tomatoes, honey and mushrooms. The meats may include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, beef, veal, sausage and, as bigos is considered a hunters' stew, venison or other game. Leftover cuts find their way into the pot as well. It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay leaf, marjoram, pimento, dried or smoked plums and other ingredients...
As with many stews, bigos can be kept in a cool place or refrigerated then reheated later—its taste actually intensifies when reheated. A common practice is to keep a pot of bigos going for a week or more, replenishing ingredients as necessary. This, the seasonal availability of cabbage and its richness in vitamin C made bigos a traditional part of the winter diet in Poland and elsewhere." - by

How to make it...

- 400 g beef, chopped
- 400 g pork, chopped
- 300 g smoked pork belly, chopped
- 150 g Chorizo, sliced (that's my Hubby's addition)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 whole cabbage, finely chopped
- 800 g sauerkraut
- 5 big dried, wild mushrooms (soak them in water and chop)
- 700 ml water
- 500 g pured tomatoes
- spices: salt, peeper, paprika, bay leaf, cumin seeds
- if you like you can add dried plums or smoked plums

Fry all the meat and put aside. On the fat from the meat, fry chopped onions till nice and clear. Add salt, pepper and paprika now to the onions - be careful with the salt, as sauerkraut can be often very salty. In a big! pot mix cabbage and sauerkraut, add water (cabbage can't swim in it, so not too much!) and boil it for about 10 minutes. Add all the meat, onions and mushrooms (and plums if using). Mix well and boil for about 10 minutes. Add bay leaf, cumin and pepper if it needs it. Add pured tomatoes and boil bigos on a very low heat for about 2 to 3 hours. Meat and cabbage have to be very soft! If you can store in a cold place over night and reheat on the next day - it really makes a difference. Serve hot with a slice of farmhouse bread or potatoes.