This is a tribute to my Nana (Maciejewska) Murphy, who was one of the true great cooks of her time. She could make something out of anything. I guess that’s where I get it from! Even though I was young when she died, there are two things I clearly remember: her spaghetti and meatballs, and her stew.
Bigos Stew is a very popular dish from Poland. As long as the seasonings are right, you can play fast and loose with the veggies. My Nana often had to use whatever was available from the market.
This is the relatively standard recipe for Bigos. It is rich, hearty, and delicious, and it reminds me of my Nana.
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a large Dutch oven. Add 1 lg sliced onion and saute over medium heat til soft. Sprinkle in 1t crushed juniper berries (got them on Amazon!) and 1/2t caraway seeds. Then add 3/4 lb cubed pork and stir it around. Sprinkle in 2T brown sugar. Increase heat to med-hi and brown the pork. Rinse and drain thoroughly 1 bag sauerkraut (about a pound) and add it to the pot. Add 1/2 head shredded white cabbage and 2 large chopped tomatoes. Pour in 2-1/2C beef stock. Bring it to the boil and turn down the heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Finely chop about 5 white mushrooms, slice 1 ring Polish sausage, and grate 1 lg apple. Add all these to the pot and stir well. Bring it to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer 90 minutes, covered.
You can serve it at this point, but putting the pot in the fridge when it’s cool and reheating the next day makes it incredible!
So celebrate your Polish roots, or make it because you wish you were Polish…. either way, Bigos is a delicious stew you will enjoy often.
Love, Grammy ❤