In Poland, every family (or even home) has their own, slightly different bigos (meat stew) recipe. The example below is an easy version of this very popular Polish dish. Feel free to modify it by adding your favorite components. The final flavor is up to you. But remember, you should taste the wilderness.
On your next hunting trip to Poland, ask your hunting guide where to get delicious, traditional, home-made sauerkraut. Buy it from a local farmer, in a village grocery shop or on a market – eventually you might even find it at a discounter.
You can also ask for dried mushrooms – a national specialty from Poland. Poles are crazy about collecting mushrooms in autumn.
1 kg of diced red deer meat (shoulder or rump)
1.5 kg of sauerkraut
1 game meat sausage (optionally also wild boar/pig bacon)
1 handful of dried mushrooms
1 handful of dried plums
½ glass of dry red wine
5 grains of allspice
1 teaspoon of sweet pepper
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of marjoram
2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
Soak mushrooms in cold water over night. Strain and slice the soaked mushrooms. Keep the water! Prepare a large pot. Slice the sauerkraut and put it into the pot. Add the mushrooms, the water they were soaking in, the grated carrot, the sliced plums, and the spices. Cook for about one hour with the lid on. Stir from time to time and add some water if necessary.
Meanwhile, dice the meat and sear it in oil in portions in a pan. The meat cubes should not touch each other.
Brown the sausage (and bacon if used). Cut the onions into cubes and glaze them. Add all those ingredients to the pot with the sauerkraut. Pour some wine and two or three glasses of water into the mix, then cook it for another 2 hours or so.
Stir occasionally. At the end add tomato paste. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. The taste becomes better with every time you reheat the stew. It can be frozen in portions.