Monday, December 8, 2008

Bigos: The Dish of Polish Royalty

No, that title is not supposed to be a joke.

Poland was, for centuries, ruled by monarchs, thankyouverymuch (Hello? Boleslav the Bashful? Vladislav Spindleshanks? What do they teach in public schools these days?)

Ahem. Anyhoodle.

Bigos is a perfect food: Hearty, soul-warming, immensely tasty, easy to prepare and cheap if you have leftover pork in the fridge.

Personally, I use a fresh, lean pork roast because I like what cooking it in the kraut does for the texture of the meat.

Totally de-lish and 100% authentically Polish. This is my recipe, culled and cobbled from a dozen other recipes over the years.

Bigos Dziewczynka z Miasta (City Girl Bigos)
2 lbs Pork Loin, Pork Roast or other whole cut of pork
2 Bags Sauerkraut (Boarshead is good)
1 Kielbasa, sliced into 1" thick pieces
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 oz Dried Mushrooms
4 Cups Hot Water
4 Bay Leaves
1 tbsp Juniper Berries (about 12)
Kosher salt

Salt pork and let rest for 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Reconstitute mushrooms in water.
Line bottom of small roasting pan with kraut, top with half the sliced onion.
Lay roast on top of onions.
Arrange two bay leaves on top of roast, top with additional onions and remaining kraut.
Nestle sausage slices, remaining two bay leaves and juniper berries into kraut.
Pour mushroom broth - with 'shrooms - into roaster. Cover tightly.
Cook for one hour, turn pork, stir kielbasa and kraut.
Cook for another hour.

Serve with buttered rye bread or - better - potato pancakes.


Note: If using pre-cooked pork, reduce the number of bay leaves to 2 and cook the whole thing in a Dutch oven on stovetop for one hour, or simmer all day.


Country Girl said...

I made it to the fifth paragraph...Christmas play tonight, this tomorrow night. With pork chops because that's what I thawed out for LAST night before the spider debacle. This sounds like the best thing I ever tasted. Ever.

City Girl said...

So how was it?! :o)

I can give you Juniper berries if you don't have your own - and why on earth would you?