Bigos, as a cabbage and meat stew, is very popular second course dish in countries of East Europe. I believe it was originated in Poland, however recipes similar to polish bigos can be found in cuisines of Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and maybe some others. In Poland bigos is traditional dish to be served on Second day of Christmas.
Ingredients for bigos vary, some of them may or may not include tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, honey and even prunes; beef, veal, pork, bacon, smoked ham, smoked sausages or a combination of those. However common parts for each bigos recipe are some kind of meat, white cabbage and sauerkraut.
I cook bigos (by the way it is called “solyanka” in Russia and Ukraine, even though there is a soup with the same name) with pork, a lot of cabbage (fresh and sour), carrots, onions, bay leaves and spice it with whole black peppercorns, just like it was always cooked in my family. Hope you will like it too.
- 2 lb of pork meat (I used shoulder part, boneless)
- Small head of white cabbage, about 1lb-1.5lb
- 24 oz jar of sauerkraut
- 2 onions
- 2-3 carrots
- 6-8 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- Sunflower oil
- Salt to taste
How to prepare, step-by-step:
- Prepare ingredients:
- Rinse pork meat under cold water and dry it up with paper towel. Dice meat into pieces with about 1.5” side and fry them over moderate-high hear in a skillet with sunflower oil. I usually split meat in to 2 potions and fry each one separately for about 10 mins, you don’t need to cook it through, just give it nice brown color:
- Put fried meat (and juice it produced!) to the big cooking pot (if you have cast-iron one, it is better to use it), add bay leaves and about 10 black peppercorns and season with salt. Cover cooking pot with a lid and put on low heat burning:
- Skin onions, slice them into half-circles. Warm up another skillet over moderate heat with sunflower oil, add onions to it and fry them over until they become soft (by using another skillet you will save some time by frying meat and onions in the same time):
- Skin carrots and grate them on big slots (you may also slice them into stripes if you like). Add carrots to the skillet where onions are and fry them for about 5 mins, stirring from time to time:
- Drain liquid from sauerkraut (rinse it with cold water before if it tastes too sour) and add to the skillet where onions and carrots are. Mix and fry vegetables together for about 10 mins:
- After then pour them to the cooking pot over the meat (keep the low heat under it):
- Shred white cabbage (depends of the cabbage you may use just part of cabbage head, the rule of the thumb is volume of braised white cabbage should be about the same as volume of sauerkraut). Again, warm up skillet with sunflower oil over medium-low heat, add shredded cabbage to it and braise it for about 15-20 mins until it gets soft, don’t forget to stir:
- Pour braised cabbage to the cooking pot and mix with the rest of vegetables (but not with meat!):
- Cover cooking pot with a lid, and continue cooking over low heat for about 1 hour: meat should be soft but not over cooked, cabbage should be soft (adjust the cooking time if needed). Then turn the heat off and mix meat with vegetables:
- Server Cabbage and Pork Bigos warm without side dish:
Tips & Advices
- Store leftover bigos in the fridge for up to 1 week, it will not loose its taste, then just reheat it in microwave!