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Bigos Recipe

krysia 23 | 3,058
5 Nov 2009 #121
You have to add fresh cabbage to sauerkraut.

That's how my mom makes it too.

Its my understanding that in, for example, the USA, there are food hygiene regulations which stipulate that sauerkraut *must* be made with far more salt than would be used in Poland.

Depends what brand you buy. You can buy salt free if you like too.
Rakky 9 | 217
5 Nov 2009 #122
You have to add fresh cabbage to sauerkraut.
That's how my mom makes it too.

I've NEVER heard of anyone doing this before. Amazing. How the heck do I get to be this age and not know something like this? It's so simple - and such a great idea. Diakuju.
sadieann 2 | 205
5 Nov 2009 #123
sauerkraut to the fresh cabagge

This is how I make my bigos as well. Slowly cook, it get's better and better. The flavors really need time. Worth the wait.
stevew 2 | 29
6 Nov 2009 #124
You can buy salt free if you like too.

How is it possible to have salt-free sauerkraut?

Its a brine-fermentation...
14 Nov 2009 #125
correction, Polish bigos flavouring is widley available in poland and used by many people. it is just a combination of herbs and spices to add to the flavour of the dish just as we might add mixed herbs to a stew.
coppermouse 16 | 62
26 Sep 2011 #126
Merged: Bigos recipes?

Can I get any recipes please
8 Oct 2011 #127
do you have to add prunes

Negative... These recipes are really just suggestions. A real Bigos is just a concoction of ingredients which have a similar theme, but there are NO rules. If you don't like prune, don't use them. Same goes with any other ingredients. In fact I would say this about all cooking. The recipe is a guide, someone made it like this and it was good (or at least they thought it was) but you need to make stuff that YOU like.

I'm Really looking forward to making up a good Bigos. I reckon pork-wise, belly pork could be good, that's what i'm planning to use, maybe I'll salt it for a bit first, but I'm not sure yet, and I like apple, so I think I'll go for a bit of apple as well.

Oh, and I wont be having mine with beer (not that there's anything wrong with that.) I think that a real Polish meal should be accompanied by real Polish Vodka!

I'll let you know how I go

correction, Polish bigos flavouring is widley available in poland and used by many peopl

Any idea what herbs and spices? I prefer to use the herbs I'm growing, and I can usually make something good with just them and a few good spices. I prefer not to just buy some packet and use that, (not that I have never done that, I just feel a bit like i cheated :))
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,437
8 Oct 2011 #128
Any idea what herbs and spices?

I use allspice, majoran, cumin, prunes, mushroom, red wine.........bay leaf, salt, pepper.

I do layers of kapusta, spices and cook it in the over for 30 min, then I take it out and slow cook it.
beckski 12 | 1,617
10 Oct 2011 #129
I had bigos yesterday, at the Polish festival in San Diego, California. The meal was tasty, but a little on the salty side. It tasted like there was barbeque sauce, mixed with with tomato paste.

  • Bigos
Seanus 15 | 19,674
10 Oct 2011 #130
Bigos is good when salty. I think the original Lithuanian bigos isn't as salty but Poles tend to prefer salt.
30 Nov 2011 #131
My Polish family also never made bigos... they made what we all called Kapusta, (still do!) which I've found out simply means cabbage. We make it with cabbage, sometimes sauerkraut but not usually, potatoes, kielbasa, baked beans mashed, vinegar, salt and pepper. This is the recipe from Bapchi and Jaju (sp?) my great grandparents.
Kot Bonifacy
26 Dec 2011 #132
Any idea what herbs and spices?

As many folks here have told before me: whatever suits your taste, just make sure it goes well with the cabbage (sauerkraut).
My father NEVER added any tomatoes to his bigos. Our next-door neigbour ALWAYS added tomato paste into his bigos. BOTH of these dishes were "100% bigos".

For instance, I'm making now my own bigos - without any meat (I don't eat meat, although I don't consider myself a vegetarian) - but using (among others) such unorthodox spices like sechuan pepper, falafel spice mix, cummin seeds (typically, only caraway seeds are used), mild ("sweet") and hot paprika powder, coriander seeds and nutmeg.

The jury is still out whether to add a "hefty bit" of sambal belachan to this concotion - definitelly not a traditional Polish ingredient, but it seems (or, rather "smells") to me to match the content of the pot very well.

(Well, I've spent quite a few years in SE Asia and India, so my sense of flavour is kinda skewed. ;-))

And, whenever I cook, I just let my nose to make the final decision on what to add, and how much of it - I just smell the content of the pot and the spice in question, and then act "impromptu".

Not that it always brings good results - sometimes the ready dish is barely edible, but, hey, one learns from mistakes, doesn't he? ;-)

If you're interested, here's a rundown on how I made my bigos today (next time it will be probably bit different - depending on the spices available, moon phase, my mood and the amount of beer I'd have before the cooking session):


3 kilos (over 6.6 pounds) of sauerkraut (well, "you can't make a little bit of bigos...");
2 heads of garlic;
approx. 5 pcs of middle-sized onions (use as many as you like);
about 50-100 ml of cooking oil (rice bran oil, in this particular case - good for long frying, better than olive oil - and doesn't have that "oily taste" like canola/ rapeseed oil - and doesn't separate out from the dish like grapeseed oil);

a bit of smoked yellow cheese ("Rolada Ustrzycka" - for the smoky flavour);
2 packets (@ 390 ml each) of chopped tomatoes (but I might add some more latter on - seems 2 packets are not enough);

and a "little bit" (means, as much as you like; all amounts given are "approx. only") of following spices:

mustard seeds (white) (approx. 1 tsp);
caraway seeds (1-2 tsp);
cummin seeds (1-2 tsp);
sechuan pepper (1/2-1 tsp);
coriander seeds (1 tsp);
one nutmeg (chopped);
black peppercorns (1-2 tsp);
allspice, whole (1-2 tsp);
bay leaves (5-10);
hot paprika powder (1 tsp - I'd prefer more - I like spicy food, but my wife "not really", so I have to moderate)

mild ("sweet") paprika powder (2-3 tsp)
ginger powder (1 tsp)
falafel spice mix (1 tbsp)
dried mushrooms (a handfull)

I've put the suerkraut in the pot, poured enough hot water just to cover it, boiled it briefly, then drained (if you skip this part, the bigos is going to be quite salty, and as sour as car battery electrolyte ;-)

You can keep the "sour water" aside, to add it to the bigos latter on, should you find it not sour enough - or use it to make some another Christmas Eve dishe, the beetroot borsch, the variety made with that "sour water" - or just to save it for the next hangover day; it does help ;-)

Then I've heated the oil in a wok (I find wok more practical for this kind of frying, where you start with small amount of stuff and keep adding on during the course of frying), and fried the chopped garlic.

When the garlic started to turn golden brown I added chopped onions, and fried till golden (on high heat, stirring constantly). At the same time I added mustard seeds and cummin seeds to the frying onions. Toward the end I've added falafel spice mix to the mixture, and fried all that for another minute or so - then added chopped tomatoes and the cheese.

I've mixed it all thoroughly, brought to boil, boiled for few minutes, then dumped into the sauerkraut. Added most of the other spices (except for ginger pwdr and nutmeg - I guess these should be added later on, otherwise the flavour would get lost, but I'm not sure about it), poured enough hot water to cover the whole mix, and put on a low heat to simmer for as long as the beeer in the fridge lasts ;-)

The dried mushrooms: unfortunatelly, all the mushrooms we've had in the house were used up for making other Christmas dishes, so while I should have added them together with the fried onions and spices mix into the cabbage, I'll be able to add them only after tomorrow (during Christmas holidays nearly all shops heree in Poland are closed).

OK, thats it. Bye & cheers,

Bonifacy the Cat
PS: Sorry, brevity was never my strong point... ;-)

Well, the beer is nearly finished, and seems it's time to go sleep (4:30 AM).
Tomorrow I'm going to
2 Jan 2012 #133
I had a Ukrainian boyfriend who made me bigos. Although I ditched the guy, I maintained the tastebuds for bigos (among other eastern european dishes). When I typed in this recipe, up came this thread! I could not decide which recipe I liked the best, so I kinda combined all from this thread as well as a few other recipes I pulled up from some other site...thing is, now I have a can of tomato paste opened and can't figure out if I want to use it or not!

Can't wait for it to be done.

Jack from U.S.
roastbeefdinner - | 6
5 Jan 2012 #134
The most important thing to know about bigos is: there is no recipe, there are no rules making it and everyones version is not as good as yours. Other than that, the one thing that I do enjoy most about it is no one in the USA has heard of it, but when they try it they beg me for containers of it.
Baacon - | 46
3 Oct 2012 #135
Zgubiony Smacznego!

Still using this recipe to this date, and still loving it :)) This was also cooked in Poland for a family and they loved it
jeffacake - | 1
27 Jun 2013 #136
Merged: So so greasy? Help a poor English guy trying to make Bigos for his Polish girlfriend!

Hey all! Thanks in advance for the help!
I am trying to make Bigos for my girlfriend as she misses home made bigos so much from poland. I have a question though, should the liquid of the stew be so so greasy? I am worried I made it wrong and I want her to love it! Please help.

smurf 39 | 1,971
27 Jun 2013 #137
Like all Polish food, it should be swimming in oil, and not healthy olive oil, yummy, cheap, vegetable oil.

Or you could just buy some in a Polish shop, add extra bacon and she'll never know the diff.
jon357 74 | 22,054
27 Jun 2013 #138
Lard would be more traditional. Dripping would give a better flavour. But yes - it is often greasy.
Polson 5 | 1,768
27 Jun 2013 #139
Smurf, that's not true, Polish food is not that unhealthily greasy ;)
27 Jun 2013 #140
I have a question though, should the liquid of the stew be so so greasy?

It is often pretty greasy. If it bothers you, you can always leave it for an hour or so and then skim the fat from the top of it.

The key with bigos is that it needs to be cooked and then left to go cold at least a couple of times.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
27 Jun 2013 #141
I'm a bit worried for a different reason. There shouldn't be too much liquid sloshing around in bigos if you're doing things right. Bigos is a fatty food, so you can relax on that count, unless you've really overloaded on the grease part ;-) Also, if you think the proportions ain't right, you can always add more sauerkraut to even things out - that's the beauty of it! I wouldn't add more raw cabbage at this point (I'm guessing you've been cooking for some time already), as it might take too long to blend in with the rest. As long as the taste is OK, I wouldn't worry too much about the rest. But do boil most of any excess liquid off, leaving it just comfortably moist.
smurf 39 | 1,971
27 Jun 2013 #142
Smurf, that's not true, Polish food is not that unhealthily greasy ;)

Oh I wasn't complaining Polson, I love the food here.........excpet cucumber soup, that's just weird. ;)
Polson 5 | 1,768
27 Jun 2013 #143
Oh I wasn't complaining Polson, I love the food here

Very good then ;)
I'm a big fan of pierogi. Haven't had that for a while tho.
I also like Polish soups, but can't remember if I tried that cucumber one...
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,862
27 Jun 2013 #144
ooooooooooo stop you are making me hungry, i love bigos and most Polish food....(just not flaki)
make her some kotlet schabowy, poor english guy...
f stop 25 | 2,507
27 Jun 2013 #145
There should not be any oil (or lard) added to bigos. All the fat should be from the choice cuts of meats, preferably pork.
16 Jul 2014 #146
Hi, you can find my bigos recipe here at
pawian 224 | 24,456
2 Apr 2024 #147
I want to say bigos

Maf, say it! Don`t be shy!!!

I never cook bigos with a recipe. After so many years I learnt how to do it with my eye judgment only. ):::):). Besides, you can`t spoil the dish unless you add too much pepper.

I use both fresh cabbage and sauerkraut in equal proportions. Then I add pre-fried sausage and pork. And mushrooms. The best are noble ones but champignons will do as well. Spices are juniper, pepper both ground and whole, allspice, marjoram, bay leaves.

Aaaa!! One more thing! Tomato sauce! You need to add it for bigos to gain nice light brown colour. Forget ketchup this time!!!! Bigos as a cult dish requires original ingredients.

I made it yesterday and the consumption day is today! Even my second middle son was tempted. I made enough to go for a few days.

First photo clockwise: fried sausage/bacon/mushrooms, fresh cabbage, pre-fried pork, sauerkraut. Tomato piree in the middle.
Last photo - my first serving. I had two.

Alien 20 | 4,998
3 Apr 2024 #148
I never cook bigos with a recipe. After so many years I learnt how to do it with my eye judgment only

Yes, everyone has their own recipe for bigos. That's why every bigos in Poland tastes a little different.
Miloslaw 19 | 4,953
3 Apr 2024 #149
So true..... my Mum and Aunts never put tomatoes in Bigos.But I went to a Polish fete and tried some with tomato in it...... now I always put tomatoes in my Bigos.

I cooked one last week and it was very much enjoyed by my extended family!
Miloslaw 19 | 4,953
5 Apr 2024 #150
I have to say that Pawian's pic of of his Bigos looked pretty disgusting, in fact, inedible.......

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