Well, that’s not the official name but it might as well be. As the snow came down fast and furious yesterday, Mark and I cooked up a batch of BIGOS, or Hunter’s Stew. It’s a bit of prep time (chopping, browning the meat) but then everything goes into the pot, and the pot goes into a 300 degree oven for 4-5 hours. We ladled the results into soup bowls, dropped a tablespoon or more of sour cream on top and sat down in front of the fire.
There is a lot of meat in this. A lot. The first time Mark made this many years ago, during his first marriage, his pet rabbits ran to a far corner of the house, probably worried they were going to be thrown in also. Not our terriers. They hung out in the kitchen, praying for something to hit the floor.
I will say that one phone call to Haring Brothers got us all the meat, ready for pick-up at my time of choosing. Also, the original recipe is double the amount below. Feel free to do it, but be prepared with lots of pots to split the cooking.
BIGOS, or Hunter’s Stew
¼ lb. salt pork, diced
1 lb. short ribs
½ lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
½ lb. lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes (kebab pieces)
2 lb. chicken pieces
1 lb. kielbasa, cut into 2 inch-thick slices
½ lb. beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes (stew pieces)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 turnip, peeled and cut into wedges
½ lb. mushrooms
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. sauerkraut, drained and rinsed (1 pkg.)
3 cups, beer (approx. 1 ½ bottles)
½ cup mixed dried fruits (optional)
1 bouquet garni (see note below)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- In a large casserole, brown the salt pork over medium heat. Remove and set aside. Then brown all the other meats, a few pieces at a time, and set aside.
- NOTE: If the pan bottom is covered with browning “stuff” from the meat, first deglaze the pan. Pour in a little water and over high heat, scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the pieces off. Then put the vegetables in. You may still need to add some oil before the parsnips, et al, go in.
- Add the oil and sauté the onions, carrots and celery for 10 minutes. Add the parsnips, apples and turnips, and sauté briefly. Toss in the rinsed and drained sauerkraut.
- Return the meats to the casserole and add the remaining ingredients. Bake, tightly covered, for four to five hours, stirring occasionally and adding liquid if needed. (This stew can be refrigerated for up to three days and reheated on the stove.)
- Serve with sour cream, steamed potatoes or other starch and a good crusty bread. Remember to take the bouquet garni out before serving. If you can’t find it…offer a prize to the guest that does.
NOTE: Bouquet garni consists of five juniper berries, two bay leaves, 10 black peppercorns, four springs of parsley and ½ tsp. each of caraway seeds, celery seeds, dill seeds, savory and marjoram, wrapped in cheesecloth.
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