Traditionally, Polish bigos is served with rye bread and Zubrowka (bison grass vodka). This warm dish can also be served with young mashed or steamed potatoes.
- 4 cups sauerkraut, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup pork or duck fat
- 250 g pork neck, cubed
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 200 g sausage ends, chopped
- 60 g smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 cup button mushrooms, halved and sliced
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- salt and pepper, to season
- 100 g tomato paste
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 250–500 ml (1–2 cups) beef stock
- 60 ml red wine
- ½ savoy cabbage, shredded
- 2 dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 8 prunes, pitted and chopped
- chopped parsley, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the sauerkraut in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, then drain.
Heat a little of the pork fat in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook the pork neck and onion, seasoning, until browned. Add the bay leaves, sausage, bacon, mushroom, allspice, salt and a good amount of black pepper, and combine well. Add the sauerkraut and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, for 30 minutes.
Melt the remaining pork fat in a saucepan, add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes, to cook the flour. Add a little bit of the beef stock and stir until smooth, then add the remaining stock and combine well. Pass through a fine mesh strainer into the sauerkraut mixture. Add the wine and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the savoy cabbage in another saucepan. Add the porcini, garlic and water. Cook over medium–low heat for 15 minutes, or until wilted. Remove from the heat.
When the sauerkraut mixture has been cooking for 30 minutes, add the wilted savoy cabbage and prunes, cover with the lid slightly open, reduce heat to as low as possible, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Top with chopped parsley and eat immediately, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. Bigos gets better as it is reheated, so on the third day it should be at its best.