Hearty and satisfying, my bigos recipe is the cold weather stew you’ve been looking for!
There’s nothing I love more than stew recipes that have built flavors and ingredients over generations of familial love and care. Bigos is an unusual and very unique beef stew and pork stew recipe all in one! Four types of meat, sauerkraut, fruit, and veggies combined to create a taste unlike any other. Sweet, sour and briny.
How’s that for interesting? Oh, and this recipe makes a huge batch so feel free to cut in in half!
Grab a soup bowl and let’s get cooking!
There is nothing better for the soul than a steaming bowl of stew that hits all the right belly-filling notes. My bigos recipe is the king of all those stews, coming at you hard with generations of Polish goodness built right in!
- Sweet, savory, meaty, briny!
- No one leaves the table hungry
- Four! Types! Of! Meat!
Now, at first glance of the ingredients, you might be thinking “Woah.” But don’t let it overwhelm you! All that goodness is well worth it, friends. And this stew is strong enough to hold up each flavor.
Still nervous? Let me walk you through some of it!
Meat: What makes this recipe a must-have for many is the four (four!) different types of meat. But do you have to use each type, or is there some wiggle room? For the beef and pork, you’ll want to stick with cuts that do well in stews — namely, meat that has a lot of collagen.
Cooking collagen-heavy meat in stews over long periods of time (in this recipe, for three hours) breaks down the collagen and makes the meat super tender. Ask your butcher if you aren’t sure you’ve bought the right kind of meat!
Wine: Yes, this recipe calls for wine — it’s a staple in all bigos recipe! Adding red wine brings a depth of flavor that other ingredients just can’t replicate. If you’re worried about alcohol, all of that cooks out. Don’t know which wine to choose? For this recipe, I like to use Pinot Noir, but there are other options too!
Apples: For my recipe, I love using Granny Smith apples. Why? They bring the perfect amount of tartness to the dish and don’t get too mushy in the broth.
Sauerkraut: It wouldn’t be a true Polish recipe if it didn’t have sauerkraut, would it? If you’re not a fan of this fermented food, check out some of the health benefits that sauerkraut offers, including a digestive boost!
Like any good stew recipe, my bigos recipe makes enough food to feed most of Poland! So what do you do with the leftovers? Read on!
Can You Freeze This?
Indeed! You can freeze this for up to three months. Make sure your container is fully sealed and your stew is cooled to room temperature first though! If you put the hot stew in your freezer, it’ll lower your freezer’s temp and endanger your other frozen goods.
Make Ahead Tips
Honestly, the best make ahead tip I have for this bigos recipe is to transfer the whole dish to the Instant Pot or Crockpot. There’s just no shortcutting the depth of flavor this dish needs! Check out the changes below under Recipe Variations.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Once cooled, you can keep your stew properly stored in the fridge for up to four days. I think it tastes even better the second day! The flavors get time to mature and develop, and each bite is better than the last.
Let’s shake up this stew party with some variations!
Can I Cook This In An Instant Pot?
As mentioned above, the best way to speed up the bigos recipe process is to turn this into Instant Pot beef stew. Making it in this handy kitchen contraption means it’ll be quite similar to another European favorite — Instant Pot goulash!
Can I Add Other Sausages?
This recipe has you add kielbasa — yum! — but if you want, even more, try my sausage jambalaya! There’s a whole world of sausage-focused stews, from chicken and sausage jambalaya to shrimp and sausage gumbo. Sausage is a great supporting player in stews!
Can I Make This Recipe With An Asian Twist?
Want your stew with an Asian twist? Try Vietnamese beef stew! You get the same hearty beef flavor with delicate Vietnamese ingredients. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can give mechado (a Filipino version) or kare-kare (with peanuts!) a try.
Can I Make This With A Mexican Twist Instead?
Mexican beef stew is wonderful! All those deep, rich flavors elevated by spice. I personally love pozole that uses hominy, as well as the stew birria for extra spice!
What Other Beef Stew Recipes Can I Cook?
Every culture has a beef stew, and every family has their take on it! Mulligan stew is a great community-based dish whereas beef goulash takes old world flavors and cranks them up to the max. A classic dish is Ina Garten beef stew — she’s a master of cooking, so you know it’s good!
Bigos (Hunter's Stew)
- 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms,
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 5 cups beef broth
- 1 cup apple cider, plus if you want more sweetness
- 1 heaping tablespoon beef flavor Better Than Bouillon
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including juices
- 8 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 large parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 14 ounces kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and grated
- 1 cup pitted prunes, quartered
- 1 (16-ounce) jar sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
- 16 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons ground marjoram
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed, optional
- Place dried mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water, let sit to reconstitute. Drain mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and strain to remove all sediment.
- Toss beef and pork with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and all-purpose flour in a large bowl.
- Heat half the olive oil in a Dutch oven and brown beef and pork in batches, adding it to the Dutch oven in a single layer, without crowding the pan. Remove to a bowl and continue with remaining beef and pork adding more oil as needed.
- Brown chopped bacon in the Dutch oven. Remove to the bowl.
- Saute onion and garlic in bacon drippings over medium heat until soft. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until wine is reduced by half. Add the beef broth, reserved mushroom liquid, and Better Than Bouillon, reduce heat to simmer and whisk until Better Than Bouillon is dissolved.
- Add the beef, pork, and bacon back to the Dutch oven, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and simmer 3 hours. Remove bay leaf and serve over cooked noodles.
Still hungry for beef and pork stew? You’re my kind of person!
- Menudo – Another Mexican favorite!
- Brunswick Stew – Tomato-based and delicious
- Feijoada – A South American classic
- Pork Stew – Celebrate pork in every way!
- New Orleans Gumbo – Take a trip to Louisiana without leaving your kitchen
So, what do you think? Did my recipe live up to all your stew hopes and dreams? Did you get a big loaf of crusty bread to dip in it? Give me all the details of your bigos experience in the comments!