A Taste of Tradition: Polish Bigos – History, Recipe, & Unique Twist

Ah, the delightful aroma of simmering Bigos—a dish that warms the heart and soul of every Pole. In today’s blog post, we’re diving deep into the history of this authentic Polish stew, exploring what sets it apart from other European stews, and sharing a step-by-step recipe with our very own unique twist.

So, grab your apron, and let’s embark on this culinary journey together!

The Rich History of Bigos

Bigos, often referred to as “Hunter’s Stew,” has been a staple in Polish cuisine for centuries. This hearty dish finds its roots in medieval Poland, where it was a popular choice among hunters who needed a filling and easily transportable meal.

What makes Bigos truly special is its unique combination of sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, and various types of meat, which gives it a distinct flavor and texture.

Old painting depicting a traditional Polish feast with Bigos

While many European stews are characterized by their thick, gravy-like consistency, Bigos stands out with its tangy, slightly acidic taste derived from the sauerkraut. This fermented cabbage not only adds a depth of flavor but also serves as a natural preservative, allowing the stew to be stored and reheated over several days, with the flavors intensifying each time.

In Poland, Bigos is more than just a meal—it’s a symbol of national pride and a dish that brings people together on special occasions. From Christmas Eve dinners to wedding celebrations, you’ll find families gathered around a steaming pot of Bigos, sharing stories and making memories.

Now that you know the story behind this delectable stew, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and cook up some Bigos! Our recipe includes a unique twist that adds an extra layer of flavor.

Our Unique Bigos Recipe – A Step-by-Step Guide

Polish Bigos - Stew recipe

Polish Bigos ( Hunter’s Stew)

Serving Size:
2-3 h


  • 1 kg sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small head of fresh cabbage, shredded
  • 300g smoked sausage (e.g., kielbasa), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 300g pork shoulder, cubed
  • 200g smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 250g fresh mushrooms, sliced (our unique twist!)
  • 1 cup dry red wine (another unique twist for added depth)
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Bacon cooking in a pot.
  3. In the same pot, brown the pork shoulder and smoked sausage in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the pot. Remove the browned meat and set aside with the bacon.
  4. Add the onions and garlic to the pot, cooking until softened and fragrant. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Onions, garlic, and mushrooms cooking
  6. Return the bacon, pork, and sausage to the pot. Add the sauerkraut, shredded cabbage, red wine, broth, bay leaves, marjoram, and caraway seeds. Stir well to combine.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for at least 2 hours. The longer it simmers, the better the flavors meld together.
  8. A simmering pot of Bigos
  9. Taste the Bigos and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Serving Tips

Bigos is best served hot, with a side of crusty bread or boiled potatoes to soak up the flavorful juices. For an authentic Polish experience, pair your Bigos with a glass of polish vodka such as żubrówka (Polish bison grass vodka) or a cold Polish beer.

And there you have it—a taste of Poland in your very own kitchen! We hope you enjoy this delicious, hearty stew as much as we do. Remember, the beauty of Bigos lies in its versatility, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of meat or additional ingredients.


Bartosz is a travel writer, photographer & founder/editor of theuniquepoland who tells stories of adventure, history and current affairs. He writes mainly about travel, with special focus on Poland. He loves travelling, discover new unknown and inspire others.

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