Skip to Content

Where Is My Spoon Stews Sauerkraut Stew – Polish Bigos Recipe

Sauerkraut Stew – Polish Bigos Recipe

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There may be affiliate links within the post, see my Privacy Policy.
Sauerkraut Stew – Polish Bigos Recipe

Warming sauerkraut stew or bigos with pork and spicy sausages, one of the most popular Polish recipes.

Sauerkraut Stew with Pork and Sausages – Polish Bigos Recipe

This Polish sauerkraut stew is everything that a winter stew should be: hearty, comforting, it warms you up from inside and leaves you full and satisfied.

There are quite a few cabbage or sauerkraut stew recipes on the blog, you might have noticed that. From the vegan Cabbage Turmeric Stew and the Romanian Stewed Cabbage to Pork, Rice and Cabbage Stew or Stewed Sauerkraut with Meat Dumplings.

Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables and stewing it makes it so wonderful. I love that sweet yet hearty flavor which develops while the cabbage cooks, I like to slightly let it caramelize and catch at the bottom of the pan so that it tastes even sweeter and more intensive.

I like to add a bit of tomato paste to give it a fruitier note and I like it plain with nothing but some carrots in it or full of other delicious things like meat or sausages. Or both.

This Polish bigos is a deluxe version of the simple cabbage stew I grew up with. My grandmother did add some fattier pork pieces (for some reason I distinctly remember some large meat pieces full of white fat that I used to pick out of my cabbage and give to my grandfather), but not often, most of the time her stewed cabbage was meat-free.

Sauerkraut Stew with Pork and Sausages – Polish Bigos Recipe

Ingredients

  • Sauerkraut from a can or vacuum-packed. The best sort is the fresh one bought at the butcher’s (in Germany), but that might not be available anywhere. Cans are and they are fine as well.
  • Pork: ideally you would use a piece of smoked pork. But regular stewing pork meat is fine as well. I always use pork butt, also known as pork shoulder. It is not very lean, but that makes it perfect for stewing.
  • Sausages: Polish cabanossi or Krakauer, Kielbasa, or whatever they are called where you are.
  • Bacon: already chopped bacon cubes, preferably smoked. Don’t use the thin bacon slices which you would fry for breakfast, you need rough, sturdy cubes.
  • Plum jam: an important ingredient when making bigos. It adds a kind of smoky, gamey flavor you would not want to miss.
  • Spices: typical stew spices used in Eastern and Central Europe like juniper berries and caraway seeds.
  • Dried porcini: use them together with their soaking liquid, they really add lots of flavor.
  • Other ingredients: white or green cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste (not tomato sauce or puree), and chicken stock.
Sauerkraut Stew with Pork and Sausages – Polish Bigos Recipe

How to make?

  • Chop everything, but keep the ingredients separated.
  • Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven.
  • Add the onion and the spices and stir for a few minutes.
  • Brown the pork pieces on high heat.
  • Add sauerkraut, cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste and stock to the pot.
  • Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • Add the soaked and sliced mushrooms and their soaking water.
  • Add sausages and plum jam and simmer for one hour.
  • Adjust the taste.

Tips for making bigos

  • Plan ahead and make it one day in advance, it tastes better each time you reheat it.
  • Try to get at least one sort of smoked meat, either the bacon or the pork. If both are smoked it is even better.
  • Start by chopping everything, this dish requires quite a bit of chopping, but it is otherwise super simple to make.

More Polish dishes:

Polish Bean Stew

Mushroom Stuffed Meatballs

Rosol – Polish Soup

Polish Cottage Cheese Spread

Polish Crepes Nalesniki

Tort Bezowy

Sauerkraut Stew with Pork and Sausages – Polish Bigos Recipe
polish sauerkraut stew with sausages and pork in a red cast-iron pot

Sauerkraut Stew – Polish Bigos Recipe

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Warming sauerkraut stew or bigos with pork and spicy sausages, one of the most popular Polish recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
  • 75 g/ 2.7 oz smoked bacon cubes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon juniper corns
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 450 g/ 1 lb pork stewing meat, smoked if available
  • 375 g/ 13.2 oz/ about 2 1/2 cups sauerkraut
  • 750 g/ 26.5 oz/ about 10 cups white cabbage
  • 350 g/ 12.3 oz/ about 2 cups tomatoes
  • 75 g/ 2.7 oz/ about 4-5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 500 ml/ 2 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 10 g/ 0.35 oz dried porcini
  • 300 g/ 10.5 oz Polish sausage (cabanossi or Krakauer)
  • 2-4 teaspoons plum butter or jam, to taste (plum butter is less sweet than jam, so use to taste)
  • fine sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cube the bacon, if necessary. Chop the onion finely. Cut the pork into cubes. Rinse the sauerkraut and let it drain in a sieve. Chop the white cabbage. Chop the tomatoes. Slice the cabanossi.
  2. Heat the lard or oil in a Dutch oven or another heavy-bottomed pot. Fry the bacon for a few minutes. Add the finely chopped onion, the crushed juniper seeds, and the caraway seeds and stir for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the pork pieces to the pot and cook until well browned, about 2 or 3 minutes on high heat.
  4. Add sauerkraut, cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock to the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime soak the porcini in 200 ml/ about ¾ cup warm water. Drain, but reserve the soaking liquid. Chop the porcini and add them to the pot together with their soaking liquid.
  6. Add the sausage slices as well. Add two teaspoons plum butter or jam, cover, and continue simmering for one hour.
  7. Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, and more plum butter or jam, if necessary. Serve hot or reheat when needed, it tastes even better the next day.

Notes

I recommend cooking the stew one day in advance and let it develop the flavors overnight.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/6 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 1623mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 21g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

plate with rosol polish soup with noodles
Rosol – Polish Soup
← Read Last Post
croissants with jam sprinkled with icing sugar close up
Croissants with Jam (with Puff Pastry)
Read Next Post →

CARAMCELLA

Saturday 28th of September 2019

I WENT TO POLAND LAST WEEK . I HAVE TO SAY THE FOOD AND THE PORTIONS WHERE CHEAP AND HUGE,. I ACTUALLY HAD THIS DISH AND WAS THRILLED WITH IT . HENCE ME LOOKING ON INTERNET SO I CAN MAKE IT. IT HAD BOILED/ROASTED POTATOES ONTOP TOO . WAS AMAZING . SO I WILL TRY YOUR RECEIPE TOO . CARNT WAIT …. THANKS

Adina

Sunday 29th of September 2019

Hi. We loved the food in Poland too. Let me know if you liked the recipe. :)

Karin

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

I hear you re: traveling abroad and food. I guess that there are some very picky eaters out there; or maybe people like your... is it mom-in-law? who refuse to eat lamb because it tastes "sheepy." Personally, I am with you: I love to get to taste how the culture and geography of a people expresses in the food. Saying that, where Poland is concerned, some of the dishes are familiar in both Germany and Poland, a cultural exchange between members of the once large Jewish population and people with German roots living near the Polish border, spreading the recipes. Something decidedly NOT wide-spread in Germany is to use prunes in meat stews, but I say don't knock it til you tried it.

Adina

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

Yeap, that's my mother-in-law. :) Picky eater number 1 around here, worst than the kids. (Hab dich trotzdem lieb, Rosi!) Polish food resembles both German and Romanian food, maybe that is why I liked it so much. I've made a lamb stew a few years ago with prunes in it, it was definitely something different than what we usually know, but I loved it, especially when reheated, after the different flavors had the time to really blend. I should make it again sometime...

Sissi

Saturday 27th of January 2018

Your lovely looking dish has almost made me change tonight's dinner plans and defrost the last portion of my bigos... (Actually not only does it get better when reheated but it's fantastic defrosted!) I always add chopped prunes and tons of marjoram (just like I do with many Polish pork dishes), and also some red wine which adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the dish. I also cook my bigos for2-3l days; several hours every day, so I prepare huge amounts and freeze in individual portions.

Adina

Thursday 1st of February 2018

I saw a recipe with prunes, but I was almost afraid to use them, I thought my people here would not eat the food... That is why I went for the plum jam version. :) But I would like to try it with prunes and marjoram.

Chris Scheuer

Wednesday 24th of January 2018

I think I might have to come to your house to have sauerkraut Adina! This looks so good. I'm the only one in my family who LOVES (even likes) sauerkraut so I never make it. They all think it's disgusting. That's the only thing that makes me sad about my family :)

shares