Bigos (Hunter’s Stew)


Bigos (Hunter’s Stew)

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound pork butt
1 pound good quality kielbasa, quartered
1/4 pound thick cut bacon, cut into half inch pieces
3 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups carrots cut into half circle slices
1 pound baby bella mushrooms (cremini) sliced
3 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
6 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup red wine, such as Burgundy or merlot
2 1/2 pounds sauerkraut, drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 quart beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dry marjoram
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 whole bay leaf
1 teaspoon juniper berries (optional)
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pitted prunes, quartered

DIRECTIONS

In a large 5 – 6 quart Dutch oven, heat oil over high.
Pat the pork stew meat dry and fry half to sear both sides, about 4-5 minutes per batch. Remove to a bowl and reduce temperature of pot to medium high.
Add the four Kielbasa quarters and brown all sides, about five minutes. Remove to the same bowl.
Add bacon and onions and sauté for three minutes (do not crisp).
Add the carrots and sauté two minutes.
Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté two minutes.
Add the cabbage and cook two minutes.
Add the wine and scrape up brown bits from the bottom.
Add the drained sauerkraut, canned tomatoes, beef broth, thyme, marjoram, allspice, bay leaf, paprika (and juniper berries if using).
In a mortar and pestle, place caraway seeds with the salt and pepper and crush until the seeds are fine, then add to the mixture OR give a quick spin in a spice grinder
Add the seared pork and large pieces of kielbasa.
Raise the heat to high then once bubbling, reduce to low and cook partially covered for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. Meat should be easy to shred. Adjust your cooking time to get the textures you desire.
Remove the four big pieces of kielbasa to your cutting board.
Remove and discard bay leaf.
Add the prunes and simmer ten minutes.
Slice the kielbasa into bite sized slices and add back to pot
Cool/reheat at least three times before serving. Serve with hearty dark bread.