Bigos (Hunter's Stew) Recipe -
Bigos (Hunter's Stew) Recipe
  • READY IN ABOUT 4 hrs

Bigos (Hunter's Stew)

Recipe by  

"A traditional Polish stew using pork, kielbasa, and sauerkraut. Great for a cold winters day. Well worth the time it takes to make it!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 10 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    45 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs

    3 hrs 45 mins


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and kielbasa; cook and stir until the bacon has rendered its fat and sausage is lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and transfer to a large casserole or Dutch oven.
  3. Coat the cubes of pork lightly with flour and fry them in the bacon drippings over medium-high heat until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to the casserole. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, fresh mushrooms, cabbage and sauerkraut. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir until the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown.
  4. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine and stirring to loosen all of the bits of food and flour that are stuck to the bottom. Season with the bay leaf, basil, marjoram, paprika, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute.
  5. Mix in the dried mushrooms, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, tomato paste and tomatoes. Heat through just until boiling. Pour the vegetables and all of the liquid into the casserole dish with the meat. Cover with a lid.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until meat is very tender.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 10, 2009

My exhusband is from Poland and made this often. I have made this recipe several times now and my sons say its better then their fathers. I followed the directions exactly the first time. Now I don't coat the meat. I just throw it all together on top of the stove at first browning the meat and then adding everything. I also use a bag of shredded coleslaw mix instead of chopping a carrot and cabbage. Works great! I just throw pork, beef or chicken in. Whatever I have or is on sale. I've never had this recipe turn out bad. We love it at our house!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 16, 2010

Um, it's a very generic, salty dish that doesn't bear much of a similarity to the Polish hunter's stew, contrary to what others wrote below. As an authentic bigos, it should at least have 2 chopped green apples, a couple pounds of venison, shredded ham instead of bacon and pork, a couple of cubed potatoes, and no sauerkraut. You need to have a thick, rich, beautiful brown base. Napa cabbage should replace the sauerkraut so that it cooks down and soaks up the flavors, instead of making it salty. There is no "one" recipe for bigos, but it is a hunter's stew and it should be meaty and rich...and shouldn't be salty. This is a recipe for kiel and sauerkraut, not bigos.

Mar 07, 2011

I am Polish and had bigos many many times. I have never seen wine as an ingredient of any traditional Polish dish - not in that climate! And Worcestershire sauce? Never even heard of it until I came to Canada. Also, no Polish cook I know would add basil or flour - it should be thick with veggies and meat but not murky. Also, potatoes are eaten with bigos on the side, mashed, but not as an ingredient. And never, never skip the caraway or tomatoe paste or mushrooms (dry mushrooms should be wild Boletus). Sourcraut is essential. So much for traditional bigos... If you are a vegetarian like I am, skip the meat - the dish is reach and tasty enough without it.

Oct 27, 2008

I had to make a few changes due to personal preferences, and what I had on hand (I'll be honest, for me, the days of making a special trip to the store to buy ingredients I may or may not use again are gone). I made this with turkey kielbasa, light beer instead of red wine (I actually think this turned out really well), and a mixed Italian herb blend. Also, I omitted the caraway seed and the celery as we aren't huge fans, and I didn't bother with the tomato paste as I didn't want to open a whole can just for a couple of Tbsps. Even with these changes, it turned out great - hearty, filling, with plenty of leftovers for Husband's lunches this week. If I were to make it again, I would probably just use chunks of cabbage. The sauerkraut was a bit stringy, and didn't contribute much flavor. Some diced potato wouldn't hurt either. Thanks!

Mar 22, 2010

original recipe don't leave out the kraut or paste! Those are the key ingredients. Drop in some bay leaves!

Dec 22, 2010

The more meat you add the better! Just like Babcia used to make. I also add 1cup of chopped prunes. Love it! The longer you cook it the better. Cooling it off and warming it up again for a few days, makes the flavors better

Jan 25, 2014

This recipe is super! Though not wishing to be contrarian, please note that Genevieve's negative review is misinformed. I'm a bigos aficionado having visited Poland about 50 times and consumed bigos probably in more than 100 locations all over that country. Upon arrival in Poland, seeking out bigos is usually one of my first endeavors. I share the foregoing to impart credence to my statements about Polish bigos. Though no two cooks make it identically, it ALWAYS is sauerkraut based (indeed usually mostly sauerkraut) and ALWAYS salty. I have NEVER seen it with venison or any other wild game (but why not?) and it NEVER has a "thick, rich brown base" (gravy). Genevieve obviously is thinking of something else. The translation "hunter's stew" may be the misnomer. Bigos, at least as it commonly is prepared in virtually every Polish household and restaurant today, is made with farm raised meats obtained from the butcher - most always including kielbasa and often with pork, bacon and/or ham. In Europe, recepies prominently featuring mushrooms as an ingredient commonly have the term "hunter" (mushroom hunter?) in their title. Bigos may or may not have a lot of or any mushrooms. But, in my experience, it always has a lot of sauerkraut, onions and kielbasa. The rest left to the imagination and resources of the cook. In Poland it is said no clever man states a preference concerning the bigos of his wife compared to his mother's if both women are living.

Nov 09, 2009

Yup, this is the authentic Bigos! The longer you cook it, the better, and it gets better after a day or so in the fridge. It's a labor of love! Getting dried mushrooms is a bit tricky. Look up "dried polish borowiki" on the internet and you can find several mail order sites. Thanks for the recipe!


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  • Calories
  • 356 kcal
  • 18%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 15.2 g
  • 5%
  • Cholesterol
  • 62 mg
  • 21%
  • Fat
  • 23.5 g
  • 36%
  • Fiber
  • 3.9 g
  • 16%
  • Protein
  • 19.8 g
  • 40%
  • Sodium
  • 978 mg
  • 39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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