SILESIAN BIGOS

Czech name: Slezský bigos

Written by Katerina Pavlickova

Energy packed on the road – this slogan fits not only your favorite chocolate wafer, but also the traditional dish of Silesian cuisine – bigos. Meat of three species with two kinds of cabbage, peasants and hunters alike took this with them to warm them as they wandered far away from home. They used to take it in the barrel for a longer journey.  Silesian cuisine is a regional, Central European, relatively rich cuisine, currently cooked mainly in Germany (because the original Silesian-German population was driven to the west after World War II), partly also in part of Upper Silesia in present-day Poland, and also in Czech-Silesia (mainly in the area of the town of Tesin in the Moravian-Silesian Region). The origins of Silesian cuisine are connected with Polish cuisine – hence its similarity to other cuisines of the western Slavic nations – but at the same time, it contains important elements from German and Austrian cuisine. Within the framework of German cuisine, the Silesian region, along with the Pomeranian and East Prussian regions, represents one large regional cuisine. 

For more information about the Moravian-Silesian Region, from which this recipe comes, click here.

Ingredients

1 lb beef stew meat
1 lb pork stew meat
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 lb smoked bacon
1-2 links smoked sausage (Lumber Jack or Polish)
2 1/2 cups sauerkraut
1 smaller head of white cabbage
4 onions
1 cup dried mushrooms
lard or oil

Optional
2 tsp ground paprika
1/2 cup prunes, finely chopped (dried plums)
1 diced tomato

Meat
salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp caraway seeds

Cabbage
vinegar, sugar, salt to taste
1 tsp caraway seeds

Instructions

Cut the cabbage and all the onions. Soak the mushrooms in water to rehydrate. Soften one onion, chopped, in a pan. Add the sauerkraut to the onions.

In another pan, cook a second onion, chopped, pour over a cup of water, add the vinegar, sugar, caraway seeds, salt, and chopped cabbage until the cabbage is soft and reduced in size. If using the optional ingredients, also add them to the pan at this time and cook until the prunes are soft.

In a third saucepan, fry the bacon and remaining 2 onions in a little bit of fat, then add the beef and brown it. Season with caraway seeds and add the mushrooms with liquid. Stew covered beef about half an hour, add the pork until it is drawn, then add the poultry meat. Season it and salt it to your own taste. Slowly simmer until it is soft, add the sausage, cut into half-wheels to the finished meat. Stir both cabbages into the meat mixture.

Serve with rye bread.