Bigos, known as a Hunter's Stew, is a traditional meat stew typical of Polish, Lithuanian, and Belarusian cuisines, considered to be the Polish national dish. In Poland, it is a traditional dish to be served on the Second Day of Christmas. The seasonal availability of cabbage and its richness in vitamin C made bigos a traditional part of the winter diet in Poland and elsewhere.
There is no single recipe for a savoury stew of cabbage and meat, as recipes vary considerably from region to region and from family to family. Typical ingredients include white cabbage, sauerkraut (kapusta kiszona in Polish), various cuts of meat and sausages, often whole or puréed tomatoes, honey and mushrooms. The meats may include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, beef, veal, sausage, and, as bigos is considered a real hunters' stew, venison or other game; leftover cuts find their way into the pot as well. It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay leaf, marjoram, pimento, dried or smoked plums and other ingredients.
Bigos is usually eaten with rye bread and potatoes. As with many stews, bigos can be kept in a cool place or refrigerated then reheated later—its taste actually intensifies when reheated.
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Polish Bigos, www.polishfoodinfo.com
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