Bigos (pronounced as in big ostrich) is basically a Polish cabbage stew, though unlike any other cabbage stew you have tried in the past or will ever try again. You see, the cabbage is only justification for throwing together mounds of beef, pork, bacon and Polish sausage. If you can still call it cabbage then it is still a healthy part of the vegetable family, right?

This recipe is made up of three parts and will take 2-3 hours to prepare but it really is worth it. Oh, and you'll need a truly enormous pot. (No, bigger. That's it.)


Beef Stew
Pork Stew
  • 750g diced pork
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • plain flour
  • salt
  • black pepper
Cabbage Stew


Beef Stew
Chop meat into small (1.5-2cm) cubes and lightly coat in the plain flour. Crush garlic cloves and finely chop the onion. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and saute until golden. Cover the base of a frying pan with oil and brown the floured beef. Drain away oil and add the beef to the onion mixture. Add enough hot water to almost cover the meat, add the dried mushrooms and stew until tender (approximately 1.5 hours) adding salt and pepper to taste. Stir regularly and add water as required.
Pork Stew
Prepare as for Beef Stew (except for mushrooms) and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until meat is tender.
Cabbage Stew
Finely chop the onion, bacon and Polish sausage. Fry together in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until slightly browned. Add sauerkraut and fry together for another few minutes. Add enough hot water to just cover this. Finely chop the cabbage and add to the pot. Add tomato paste and red wine and let cook for 45 minutes, adding water if necessary.
Add the prepared meat stews (with liquid) to the cabbage stew. Mix together and cook slowly for 1 to 1.5 hours making sure there is sufficient liquid. Adjust seasoning to taste. The final consistency should be like a really, really thick minestrone.

Bigos freezes very well and can be kept refrigerated for a few days. Given a night in the fridge the flavours blend together and it tastes even better. It is best served with fresh crusty bread and butter (oh, and as always an icy glass of Wodka).

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