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How to make Bigos

2013/12/26

‘Bigos’ is a Polish and Ukranian national dish, traditionally eaten on December 25th.

Bigos ingredients

Bigos ingredients (with cat). Do not cook cat

INGREDIENTS

2 kg    Kapusta kiszona (Sauerkraut)   (4 lbs)

1 kg    Meat: beef, pork, lamb or chicken (diced into roughly 2cm. (1 inch) cubes)

250 g   Lardons  or bacon pieces (1/2 lb)

600 g  Polish sausage, try Wiejska (1 lb)

20 g   Polish dried mushrooms  (1 ounce)

10  Stoned prunes

10  Juniper berries or 50 ml  (1/4 cup) gin

10  Peppercorns

10  Whole Allspice

4  Bay leaves

2  Onions (chopped)

1  small can of Tomato paste (optional)

2 tbsp   Honey

1.5  litres  beef stock (2 pints)

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

1. Rinse sauerkraut carefully, and place inlarge pot with a little of the stock.  Set over low heat and stir from time to time.

bacon and onions

bacon and onions

2. Whilst the sauerkraut is simmering, chop the onions and cut the bacon slices into pieces.  Heat a frying pan and slowly cook half the bacon pieces.  Then add the chopped onions to the pan and, gently fry in the melted bacon fat until the onions are soft.   Add this mixture of onion and bacon to the sauerkraut.

beef and pork

beef and pork

 

3. In the same frying pan, cook the remainder of the bacon until the fat is rendered and then add the beef and lamb (or whichever uncooked meat you have chosen), turning it so that it browns on all sides – you may have to do this in batches.  Then add the browned meat to the pan and stir until mixed.

 

a dash of gin

a dash of gin

4. Add the prunes, spices, tomato paste and honey (if using), the bay leaves, gin and the stock to the sauerkraut mixture.  Stir well and bring just to the boil, then lower heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 1½ hours, stirring well from time to time.

Polish sausage

Polish sausage

 

5. Finally, cut the Polish sausages into bite-size pieces and add to the pot.  Raise heat slightly to bring back to boiling point, then reduce temperature and leave to simmer for at least a further half an hour – the longer it simmers, the better it gets!

English editor, A native of the Isle of Wight, Warren has been running the language teaching company, Go! Languages, with his wife Małgorzata, since 1997. A fan of England, Portsmouth F.C. and Pogoń Szczecin, Warren will be contribing articles on football for the Szczecinian.

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