Introduction: Hunters Stew - Polish Bigos

About: I'm a 49 year old Systems Architect living in the Midwestern United States. After travelling the world for 20 years as a consulting architect I became disabled, as a result, I am now embracing a Slow life. F…

"Bigos" means "to douse" since the dish includes red wine. It is also a national dish in Poland. Rich in vitamin C, Hunters Stew is a staple of winter diets. The version presented here uses center cut pork loin instead of pork stew meat in order to reduce the cooking time. Since Bigos gets more flavorful when it is reheated, the quantities used produce a large batch of stew that can be savored all week long. Also included is a delicious sour cream and horseradish stew topping.

Stew Ingredients:

  • 4 slices smoked bacon (diced)
  • 1 pound Polska Kielbasa (sliced into 3/4" pieces)
  • 1 1/2 pounds center cut pork tenderloin (cubed)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 garlic cloves (diced or pressed)
  • 1 medium red onion (diced)
  • 4 medium carrots (diced)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cremini or porchini (diced)
  • 4 cups green cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 16 ounce can of sauerkraut (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup dry red wine (we used a 2009 Protocolo from Spain)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 5 roma tomatoes (diced)

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 drizzle olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Follow me on Instagram - @therealcoffeedude

Step 1: Heat Some Meat!

To a large skillet on medium heat, add the bacon and kielbasa. Stir until the sausage is browned and the bacon has rendered most of it's fat. Don't worry about the little bits left on the skillet (fond), we will be deglazing it later. Set the bacon and sausage aside in the large dutch oven on low heat.

Step 2: More Meat!

Dredge the pork cubes in flour and brown in the skillet. Once browned, add pork to the dutch oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Time for Some Veggies!

Add the garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots, sauerkraut and cabbage to the skillet. Yes, it will be totally stacked up over the top of the skillet, but this is okay. As you can see from the photos it shrinks as it wilts in the skillet and if you stir and turn it carefully, in about 10 minutes it will be shrunk to a manageable size. Add all the dry spices and Worcestershire. Mix in spices for about 5 minutes then transfer the contents of the skillet to the dutch oven. Raise the heat under the dutch oven to medium and stir once or twice.

Step 4: Tomato Time!

Add the tomato paste to the skillet and allow to heat for about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and heat 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and stir, allowing the mixture to simmer and bubble for about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet contents to dutch oven.

Step 5: Let's Make Hunters Stew!

Add the 8 cups of beef stock to the dutch oven. Stir the contents and allow to come to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and heat in oven for 1-1.5 hours. Once done, it is time to make the topping.

Step 6: Yummy Time!

Remove the stew from the oven and uncover. While it cools slightly (it will be VERY hot), it is time to make the topping. Add the sour cream, horseradish, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a bowl and stir vigorously until the olive oil is incorporated. Place some stew in a bowl, top with the sour cream horseradish, and serve with a nice chunk of rye bread!