A Polish Classic – Hunter’s Stew (Bigos) from Ren Behan’s new book Wild Honey and Rye!
Reading: Recipe for hunter’s stew
I’m feeling a little starstruck at the moment – one of my blogger buddies – Ren Behan – has her new cookbook out today!
I was sent an early copy to review (please note, this isn’t a paid review, and all opinions are my own), and wow! So many scrummy recipes!
Amongst about a hundred other things, I was tempted to make her strawberry, honey and pistachio pierogis (which grace the front cover), but then I spotted the Hunter’s stew – the Polish national dish often known as bigos.
Slow cooked pork with mushrooms and stock is exactly the kind of comfort food I love. But what really caught my eye was the inclusion of sauerkraut and two types of polish sausage. Polish cooking isn’t something I’ve really experimented with, so I was intrigued to try some new flavour combinations (I’ll be saving the pierogi recipe to make next!).
The stew starts off on the hob and is finished in the oven. A little under 3 hours from start to finish, it’s the perfect meal to cook in the oven on a drizzly Saturday afternoon.
I went with the suggestion of rinsing the sauerkraut first – to reduce the sourness so it didn’t overpower the dish – and I found this resulted in the most amazing subtle tang to the flavoursome sauce (honestly – that sauce! I couldn’t stop hovering over the pan to take another slurp!).
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I loved the tender, fall-apart pork, the tangy bite of the cabbage, and the sausages added lots of meaty flavour (the kids’ loved the sausages the most).
A really warming dish, that – as Ren mentions in her book – tastes even better the next day.(Sorry, even though the recipe doesn’t use parsley to garnish, I couldn’t help it. Think I’ve got a parsley problem!)
I did worry that my supermarket might not stock the kielbasa and kabanosy sausages, but much to my surprise, I found them both in Morrisons. The only thing I couldn’t find was powidla – or polish plum butter (although I later spotted there’s a recipe for this in the book too!). So I went with Ren’s suggestion of replacing with two prunes instead.
So good! Serve it with plenty of bread to soak up those lovely juices.
Some other favourites that I can’t wait to cook include:
- Forest mushroom soup – a creamy soup, made with a homemade chicken stock
- Spiced honey vodka – oh yes! That’s making my Christmas drinks list!
- Pan roasted cod with leeks and cream – the serving suggestion of dill-buttered new potatoes sounds awesome too
- Polish apple cake – which Ren says is a cross between a cake and a pie – topped with sweet, grated pie dough. What a cool idea!
Check out Ren’s blog post on her journey to publishing her first cookbook here.
You can also pick up the book in major bookshops and Amazon here (affiliate link)
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Also, check out some other recipes from Ren’s book from some of my blogger buddies:
One-Pan Polish Breakfast by Farmersgirl Kitchen
Polish Forest Mushroom Soup by Foodie Quine
Potato Pancakes with Mushroom Sauce by Ceri’s Natural Kitchen Adventures
Apple Pancakes from Family Friends Food
Easy Lemon Mini Babkas by Kate’s Veggie Desserts
Polish Christmas Cookies by Recipes from a Pantry
Plum & Poppy Seed Cake by Heidi Robert’s Kitchen Talk
Plum & Poppy Seed Traybake by Domestic Gothess
The Hunter’s Stew (Bigos) Recipe:
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