My dad used to make hunter’s stew but he called it kapusta, which means cabbage in Polish. Hunter’s stew, also called bigos, is based on sauerkraut and it usually has added meats including kielbasa. This recipe does not belong only to Poles. There are many varieties of hunter’s stew in eastern Europe but they almost all include sauerkraut and various meats.
Bigos has been around for centuries. People used to cook big pots of this stew for hours, even days, adding all kinds of meats from beef, pork, ham, sausages, venison, even rabbit – after all it was a “hunter’s” stew.
I’ve been working on finding a simpler way to make bigos and now I’m sharing my own recipe, which doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or a lot of work, and there is less focus on meat and more focus on the sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, and lots of flavor.
The recipe starts with store-bought sauerkraut and the best kind to buy is the one they sell in the refrigerated section and I use store-bought chicken cooking stock (unsalted) because there is plenty of salt already in the sauerkraut. I have also made my hunter’s stew with homemade beef stock but I am not a fan of store-bought beef stock, only chicken.
Hunter’s stew, like most stews (and like me) gets better with age 🙂 so try to make it a day or two ahead and let it marinate in the refrigerator before serving. Some people serve it with rye bread but we always had it with mashed potatoes. The strong flavors of the stew and the mild potatoes goes really well together.
It takes a lot of chopping and shredding but otherwise, this dish cooks with virtually no effort after that. Smacznego. – Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones