Bigo’s Hunter’s Stew

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Yield: 12-14 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 1/2 – 2 hours

Total Time: 2 1/2 – 3 hours


Bigos is an Eastern European stew that has many adaptations; some versions incorporate rice and/or a variety of vegetables and meats, so you can use whatever you have on hand. This version is a Polish hunter’s stew that features kielbasa, smoky bacon, melty cabbage, and lots of delicious broth that can be sopped up with bread.


1 lb. double-smoked slab bacon, cut into 1″ cubes

11/2 lb. kielbasa sausage, sliced on a diagonal 1/2″ thick

8 garlic cloves, crushed

3 Tbsp. double concentrated tomato paste

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cumin

3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

1 small head of green cabbage (about 2 lb.), cored, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, peeled, sliced 11/2″ thick

1 Pink Lady apple, cored, grated on the large holes of a box grater

2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1″ pieces

1 lb. sauerkraut (not drained; about 2 cups)

4 cups homemade beef stock or water

Small dill sprigs, dark rye or pumpernickel bread, and unsalted butter (for serving)


Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat, stirring often, until brown and crisp, 10-12 minutes. Transfer bacon to a small bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside. Cook kielbasa in bacon fat in pot, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with tongs; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic to same pot, and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste darkens slightly in color and begins to stick to pot, about 2 minutes. Add paprika, coriander, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add onions and turn to coat. Increase heat to medium-high, pour in wine, and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until smell of the alcohol cooks off, about 3 minutes. Stir in salt, then add cabbage, carrots, apple, potatoes, sauerkraut, stock, and reserved bacon. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently, mixing well halfway through, 1 hour. Mix in reserved kielbasa. Cover and cook until bacon is tender, cabbage is meltingly soft, and potatoes are cooked through, 30-60 minutes.


Divide stew among bowls. Top with dill. Serve with bread and butter alongside.

Do Ahead: Stew can be made 1 week ahead (flavor will improve as time goes on). Cover and chill.