Polish Hunter's Stew (Bigos) is a hearty, smoky stew filled with chicken, sausage, bacon and loads of vegetables. Makes a large batch and is great reheated.
Way back in January 2014, Hunter's Stew was one of the very first recipes I ever published. Here we are, almost 3 years later, and things have come a long way. But over the years, I've changed the recipe a bit, so I wanted to share it again.
When I first shared the recipe, I made it in the traditional way - with pork, and pork based bacon and sausage. However, one time I didn't have any pork in the freezer so I used chicken thighs instead - I didn't notice any compromises to the quality.
Because cutting back on red meat is an important dietary goal to me, I have made it with chicken ever since. To further reduce fat and calories, I also use turkey or chicken based sausage too.
The Hunter's Stew is still as rich and smoky as ever - perhaps even more so because I started using smoked paprika in addition to regular sweet paprika.
How to Make Hunter's Stew:
Please don't let the long ingredient list and long cooking time prevent you from making this stew. Yes, it's a bit of a cooking time investment. But make it on a weekend, and you will be reheating it throughout the week.
Hunter's Stew Ingredients:
- Turkey bacon
- Chicken or turkey kielbasa sausage
- Chicken thighs
- 1 large onion, diced
- White mushrooms
- Green cabbage
- Canned tomato paste
- Bay leaves
- smoked paprika
- Sweet paprika
- Dried basil
- Dried marjoram
- Ground black pepper
- Caraway seed
- Cayenne pepper
- Dry red wine
- Low sodium chicken broth
- Diced tomatoes
There will be some chopping and slicing involved, as there is a long list of vegetables that go into the stew. Make sure you have a good knife to make it a little easier.
Trust me, it's worth it. I have made it countless times for my family (even my super picky kids love it!), extended family and friends, and everyone raves about it every time!
Want more hearty soup recipes?
Polish Hunter's Stew Nutrition Notes:
Polish Hunter's Stew is traditionally made with regular (pork) bacon and sausage, as well as cubed pork instead of chicken thighs. You can definitely use those, but the resulting fat and calories will be higher.
I found that by using chicken, I was able to slightly cut down on fat (as well as reduce my family's red meat intake) without compromising the flavor of the stew.
New and Improved Polish Hunter's Stew (Bigos)
- 4 slices turkey bacon
- 1 ring chicken or turkey kielbasa sausage, cut in half and sliced into ½ inch half moons
- 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ medium green cabbage, shredded
- 16 ounces sauerkraut, drained
- 2 tablespoons canned tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon caraway seed
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup dry red wine (or 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar)
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- Heat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon and sausage in an oven safe dutch oven over medium high heat until browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
- Add chicken thighs to dutch oven and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon and sausage.
- Add garlic, onion, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage and sauerkraut to the dutch oven and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, smoked paprika, paprika, basil, marjoram, salt, pepper, caraway, and cayenne. Stir and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Slowly pour in red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Stir in the chicken broth and diced tomatoes, then add back the bacon, sausage and pork. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2.5-3 hours.
Nutrition Disclaimer: I try my best to make sure the nutrition information I provide is accurate to provide you with the best information possible. However, due to ingredient discrepancies and other factors, the above nutrition information should be considered an estimation only.