Recipe for bigos

“W kociołkach bigos grzano; w słowach wydać trudno
Bigosu smak przedziwny, kolor i woń cudną;
Słów tylko brzęk usłyszy i rymów porządek,
Ale treści ich miejski nie pojmie żołądek.
Aby cenić litewskie pieśni i potrawy,
Trzeba mieć zdrowie, na wsi żyć, wracać z obławy.
Przecież i bez tych przypraw potrawą nie lada
Jest bigos, bo się z jarzyn dobrych sztucznie składa.
Bierze się doń siekana, kwaszona kapusta,
Która, wedle przysłowia, sama idzie w usta;

Zamknięta w kotle, łonem wilgotnym okrywa
Wyszukanego cząstki najlepsze mięsiwa;
I praży się, aż ogień wszystkie z niej wyciśnie
Soki żywne, aż z brzegów naczynia war pryśnie
I powietrze dokoła zionie aromatem.
Bigos już gotów.”

Adam Mickiewicz is, let’s face it, no match for Shakespeare, Cervantes or Dante in the literary stakes. But he really did get it right when he added an ode to the Polish national dish ‘bigos’ to his best-known poem, Pan Tadeusz.

The magic in this dish lies in its longevity. Create the first batch, then just keep adding things, and it could, in theory, last you forever. What’s more, the flavour just gets richer with every day. The best thing is, that you can add anything – and it’ll keep you going all winter.

With apologies to vegetarians – it’s hardly possible to make bigos without killing a few things in the process – here’s a recipe for bigos, from

Do you know a recipe for vegetarian bigos? Tell KrakówPolska about it!


  • 2 rashers smoked bacon
  • 500g kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1cm pieces
  • 500g cubed pork stewing meat
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 150g sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 350g shredded green cabbage
  • 1 (500g) jar sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 60ml dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
  • 1 dash bottled hot chilli sauce
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.2L beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 250g tinned diced tomatoes


Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and kielbasa; cook and stir until the bacon has rendered its fat and sausage is lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and transfer to a large casserole.
Coat the cubes of pork lightly with flour and fry them in the bacon dripping over medium-high heat until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to the casserole. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, fresh mushrooms, cabbage and sauerkraut. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir until the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown.
Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine and stirring to loosen all of the bits of food and flour that are stuck to the bottom. Season with the bay leaf, basil, marjoram, paprika, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute.
Mix in the dried mushrooms, hot chilli sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, tomato puree and tomatoes. Heat through just until boiling. Pour the vegetables and all of the liquid into the casserole with the meat. Cover with a lid.
Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until meat is very tender.

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