Bigos is considered the Polish national dish by many. For more information see Wikipedia's article on Bigos.
- 2.5 kg fresh cabbage
- 2 kg fermented cabbage (sauerkraut)
- 500 g pork or venison
- 250 g sausage
- 250 g bacon
- fresh or dried mushrooms
- whole black pepper, salt, bay leaf
- Chop the cabbage, add pepper and salt, a part of the mushrooms and bay leaf, and cook until soft (about 2-3 hours).
- Chop the bacon and let it melt in a frying pan.
- Fry the chopped meat and sausage in the bacon grease.
- If necessary, drain excess water from the stewed cabbage and add the fried meat, bacon, and sausage along with the grease out of the pan. Stew everything as long as possible - the longer, the better (sometimes it is done for 3 hours a day in 3 following days, or even longer).
- When ready, the dish should be a thick mash that does not "leak" water on the plate; it should be mildly sour and have a strong flavour of smoked bacon.
Notes, tips, and variations
There are countless variations of this basic recipe. According to some, the amount of meat should be equal to the amount of cabbage; others prefer to use only fermented cabbage as in German sauerkraut.
A very particular feature of this dish is that it can be safely stored even for a few days without refrigerating. This is why bigos used to be a common soldiers' dish.