Bigos (Sauerkraut Cabbage)

Please read the whole recipe prior to starting to make this dish

Bake a 1 to 1 ½ lb. pork butt at 350 degrees, with one cup water, covered. After baking for one hour, and the pork has begun to brown lightly, add 1 large sliced onion. Continue baking for 45 more minutes, or until the meat is falling apart.

While the pork butt is baking, drain the juice from 1 (27 oz) can of sauerkraut, reserving the juice for later. Boil the sauerkraut. Add either shredded head of cabbage, or ready for coleslaw like cabbage. Combine it together in a large pot and boil till it isn’t chewy, but semi soft. Add whole allspice (5 to 6), and add 4 to 5 bay leaves. Add cut up pork, all the juices, onion and fat from the baking pan, salt and pepper to the pot. Towards the end of cooking, add about ¾ tsp caraway seed. Then drain it.

If you like a variation, now into the frying pan, mix about 2 cups of tomato sauce and mushrooms. Mix it well.

In a large frying pan, sauté 1 large chopped onion till light brown. Add drained cabbage to it and fry it on a low setting (for awhile). Taste it as you may wish to add more salt or pepper to your own liking.

A very tasty variation is to add about 1 cup of prunes (cut in quarters) into boiling cabbage. If so desired, DO NOT USE any caraway seed for this variation.

Bigos can stand for a few days in the refrigerator. The longer it stands, the better it tastes!! Bigos can be easily frozen for later use. Instead of ribs, one may wish to add chopped and fried garlic sausage. At a Polish meat store, there are cut-outs from different sausages that are marked ‘Bigos only’. Chop and fry, then mix with frying cabbage. The best fat for frying any sausage (or onion) and then cabbage is the fat from bacon that can also be chopped (2/3 of a cup) and added to frying cabbage.

Remember, there are NO mistakes with Bigos. There are only tasty variations of it.


Copyright 2005 by K. Wisniewski and C. Mrowka
"1945 Victory Cafeteria" Hamtramck.