Hunter's Stew (Polish Bigos)

Hearty heart-warming comfort food. Can be cooked on the stove or in a slow-cooker. Serve with good rye bread. The secret of Bigos is that it gets better as it's reheated. The more it is heated the better it gets. Also a great make-ahead meal.



  • 4 lbs. sauerkraut
  • 1 lb. smoked pork bones
  • 1 lb. spareribs
  • 1/2 lb. bacon
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and black pepper
  • 4 lbs. cabbage heads
  • 1 lb. smoked polish sausage
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds (optional)
  • 16 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • 8 oz. dried mushroom, soaked in a little hot water
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour


Brown pork bones and spareribs in a large heavy pot and simmer in water 1 hour.

Add the sauerkraut (washed and drained). Chop the cabbage finely and add to sauerkraut with bay leaves. Add pepper and salt cover and simmer for 1 hour more. Remove lid and keep pot on a very low simmer.

In a pan, fry bacon until crisp, then crumble into sauerkraut mixture. Drain most of the bacon fat and fry sliced onions and mushrooms and flour until they just brown. Add into sauerkraut mixture with caraway seeds (if used). Cut sausage into slices and add to sauerkraut mixture with the tomatoes.


Bring to a boil, simmer 30 minutes and serve hot with rye or crusty bread and/or mashed potatoes.

Servings: 10-12
Time:40-45 Minutes Preparation Time
2-2-1/2 Hours Cooking Time

Source: Polish Cookbook in English by Zofia Czerny Revised Edition 1975

By Irene from Adelaide, South Australia

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