30g bacon fat or vegetable oil
1kg pork shoulder, diced
250g onion, chopped
750g mixed fresh mushrooms
1 smoked ham hock
500g Polish sausage
300g jar of sauerkraut
300ml of pilsner or lager beer
8g Essential Cuisine Chicken Stock Mix
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tbsp dried marjoram
20 prunes, sliced in half
30g tomato puree
- Grind or crush the juniper berries and black peppercorns roughly; you don’t want a powder. Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks, about 2 inches. Cut the sausages into similar-sized chunks. Drain the sauerkraut and set aside. Clean off any dirt from the mushrooms and cut them into large pieces; leave small one’s whole.
- Heat the bacon fat or vegetable oil in a large lidded pot for a minute or two. Working in batches if necessary, brown the pork shoulder over medium-high heat. Do not crowd the pan. Set the browned meat aside.
- Put the onion and fresh cabbage into the pot and sauté for a few minutes, stirring often, until the cabbage is soft. Sprinkle a little salt over them. The vegetables will give off plenty of water, and when they do, use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato paste here. Once the pot is clean and the cabbage and onions soft, remove from the pot and set aside with the pork shoulder.
- Add the mushrooms and cook them without any additional oil, stirring often, until they release their water. Once they do, sprinkle a little salt on the mushrooms. When the water is nearly all gone, add back the pork shoulder, the cabbage-and-onion mixture, and then everything else except the prunes. Add the beer, water and Essential Cuisine Chicken Stock Mix. Stir well to combine.
- You should not have enough liquid to submerge everything. That’s good: Bigos is a “dry” stew, and besides, the ingredients will give off more liquid as they cook. Bring everything to a simmer, cover the pot and cook gently for at least 2 hours.
- Bigos is better the longer it cooks. Check at 2 hours, and then every 30 minutes after that. Add the prunes and cook until they are tender, at least 30 more minutes.