Polish influence has been thrust upon me this past year -- its culture, politics, history and more importantly its food. Polish cuisine isn't exactly at the forefront of culinary stardom - bland and stodgy - pierogies and sausage are all that comes to mind. But it doesn't have to be. Bigos is far from bland, fun to make and a pleasure to eat, it's a stick to your ribs dish. Much needed on these cold winter nights.
Bigos, or more commonly known this side of the Atlantic as Hunter's Stew is the national dish of Poland, comprised typically of cabbage, sauerkraut and pork. The rest is up to you. It can be as interesting and flavorful as you would like it to be. In this version I used smoked Kielbasa and Canadian ham, although traditionally any leftover meats you have can be used. Be sure to always include the Kielbasa, it gives it a rich smoky flavor the dish is known for. To bulk it up I added potatoes, which I'm sure will draw some ire from traditionalists, but it would seem lost without it, Bigos to me is a meat and potatoes dish. Throwing in a dozen or so juniper berries produces a wonderful aromatic flavor, think peppery fresh pine cones and gin. I'll say it again slowly. Gin! It's a great compliment to the meat.Read More