Bigos is a very traditional Polish dish, made out of sauerkraut, cabbage, dried wild mushrooms and, in the original recipe with various meats. Every year to celebrate Christmas we cook our vegan version of bigos, which is so tasty and full of deep flavours. It’s definitely our comfort food, which also brings a lot of memories. Each year we end up with a slightly different version and a slightly different taste. This year I added some goji berries (instead of prunes) and enriched the flavour with shitake mushrooms.
Goji berries contain healthy antioxidants known for their immune-boosting qualities and their ability to fight harmful free radicals and inflammation. Shitake mushrooms are very powerful – have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, help to control blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
The are two main rules when preparing the bigos. Firstly, use a good quality sauerkraut and dried mushrooms. If you buy the sauerkraut in a jar, check the ingredients and make sure there is only cabbage (sometimes you find a small amounts of other vegetables, like carrot) and salt used, without any additives. When buying the dried mushrooms, choose if possible some wild mushroom mix, the fresher the better, as they will intensify flavour of the whole dish. Secondly, the bigos is one of this dishes which, the longer you cook the better it tastes. Although it’s good and ready to eat after around 3 hours, we usually cook it for an additional 3 days (I know it sounds crazy), for about 1-2 hours each day. I strongly recommend it, as it really deepens and bring out all the flavours. Once you mix all ingredients, it’s not as a such hard work, you just need to remember to keep stirring and add some extra water to prevent it from burning if necessary. Serve it very hot with a slice of a freshly baked bread!
Have a lovely festive season and enjoy a delicious homemade food, shared with loved ones! Happy holidays!
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1,5 kg sauerkraut, coarsely chopped
- 1,5 cup of water
- 6 allspice berries
- 5 bay leaves
- 1,5 tsp black pepper
- 0,5 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1,5 tsp paprika
- 1, 5 tsp smoked paprika
- 1,5 kg cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- 1 apple, grated
- 20g dried wild muschrooms
- 300g fresh shitake mushrooms + 1/4 cup of tamari
- salt & pepper to taste
Melt 1 tbsp of oil in a big casserole, add a chopped onion and fry on a medium heat until translucent for about 5 minutes.
Add all the spices and fry until fragrant for 2-3 minutes, keep stirring.
Add sauerkraut (together with its water) and an additional 1,5 cup of filtered water. Mix well, cover, bring to boil and then simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes, until sauerkraut softens.
Mix in the cabbage, apple cider vinegar, tamari, tomato paste, goji berries, grated apple and dried mushrooms. Cover and cook on a small heat for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time. Add an extra splash of water as needed, if the cabbage starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In a meantime melt the rest of oil (1 tbsp) in a frying pan and saute shitake mushrooms until soft and golden brown. Turn off the heat, add tamari and mix well.
Once the cabbage mixture (bigos) is ready fold in the shitake mushrooms. Taste and adjust the amount of salt and pepper to your personal taste. At this point the bigos should be ready to eat. You can optionally cook it on a very gentle heat for another 1-3 days (for 1-2 hours each day), it will develop and deepen the flavour, I would personally recommend to try it! Serve with a slice of a freshly baked bread - delicious!
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Any leftovers put in the freezer and store for up to 3 months.