Slow Cooker Hunter's Stew - Bigos z Wolnowaru - Recipe #139

Bigos is considered the national dish of Poland. I t's a hearty, long-simmered meat-and-sauerkraut stew that goes back centuries. It was traditionally served at the start of the hunting season. Today we are going to prepare it in a slow cooker.


  • 1 cup pitted prunes 100 g
  • 1 cup dried wild or porcini mushrooms 20 g
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small head fresh cabbage, chopped
  • 500 g sauerkraut, rinsed well and drained
  • 250 g smoked Polish sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 250 g smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 600 g boneless pork meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes 400 g
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 bay leafs
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Place prunes and dried mushrooms in a medium bowl. Pour over boiling water and let steep for 30 minutes or until mushrooms have softened. Chop the mushrooms and prunes, set aside reserving soaking liquid. 
  2. Drain and rinse the sauerkraut. Reserve the liquid in case the stew comes out too mellow.
  3. Chop the fresh cabbage and add to the slow cooker together with rinsed sauerkraut and a cup of beef stock. Cover and start the slow cooker.
  4. Chop the onion and sauté in vegetable oil for few minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  5. Add chopped bacon to a frying pan and fry for few minutes, add chopped sausage and continue frying for couple more minutes. Remove from the frying pan with a slotted spoon. 
  6. Add chopped pork to the remaining fat and fry just until golden brown.
  7. When cabbage has collapsed by half, add meats, onion, tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, dried mushrooms and prunes together with the soaking liquid.
  8. Mix well. Cover and set your slow cooker to the desired temperature.
  9. When ready to serve, remove bay leaf. Accompany with whole, peeled and boiled potatoes or fresh bread.
  10. The Hunters Stew is best served the next day and it freezes well.