Jan 2, 2014

Cabbage with porcini and beans (bigos w/o meat)

To slowly get back in the rhythm of things after the Holidays ...and to fill my home with sweet childhood memories, I made bigos (a Polish national dish).

Recipe be Gray Apron
time: 3 days (not much preparation, mostly inactive)

2 1/2 kg (5 lbs) white cabbage (1 medium head), loose leaves removed
1 1/2 kg (3 lbs) sauerkraut
1 medium celery root, coarsely graded
2 medium parsnips, coarsely graded
2 large carrots, coarsely graded
4 bay leaves
6 all spice berries
100 g (3.5 oz) dried porcini mushrooms, chopped
6 prunes, chopped
2 cups dried large beans, cooked
4 medium onions, sliced
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup dry red wine
fresh ground pepper to taste

FIRST DAY: Split cabbage head in four, remove core. Using a big knife, shred it thin. Cook it in a large pot with 1/2 cup of water, covered with a lid, on low/medium heat, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, wash sauerkraut under running water (for 10 seconds), squeeze the excess liquid out. Chop it if too coarse. Add it to the cooked cabbage. Add celery, parsnips, carrots, bay leaves and all spice berries. Cook on medium/low heat, with a lid ajar, for 1/2 hour, till all tender, stirring occasionally. Set it in a cool place overnight.

SECOND DAY: Add dried porcini, prunes and beans to the cabbage pot. Cook on medium/low for 30 minutes, stirring more often. Set the pot in a cool place overnight.

THIRD DAY: On a medium skillet, heat oil on medium/high. Saute onions for 12 minutes (without changing their color). Bring cabbage to cooking temperature on medium heat. Add sautéed onions, pour in wine. Cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes on medium/low heat. Adjust seasoning and serve. Reheat the whole pot once a day over the next couple of days.

  • there is no national recipe for bigos, all I got were tips and tricks from various sources; here are a few:
  • cook cabbage first, it might never get tender with the acid from sauerkraut;
  • wash sauerkraut to remove some acidity;
  • wait with adding salt, sauerkraut might have enough of it already; pepper only at the end, otherwise, it might turn bitter;
  • don't presoak the mushrooms; it's better if they absorb liquids from the dish;
  • use only dry herbs;
  • after biogs is ready, reheat the whole pot once a day over the next couple of days (maximum 2 in my case), even if you just need a plate full;
  • the point of this operation is for all the the flavors to blend and intensify...and to prevent bigos from going bad;
  • traditionally, the dish is loaded with meat leftovers (cooked, added the third day), but since but I had none, I added beans to make it a full meal;
  • to be enjoyed by itself, with a slice of bread or a portion of mashed potatoes.


  1. I can't think of a better time of year to fill your house with comfort food and childhood memories. Happy New Year!

  2. Dear Elzbieta, This sounds very delicious!! I enjoy comfort food such as this. Blessings for the New Year. Catherine xo

  3. Love this! Look delicious Ela!

  4. Love cabbage and this dish looks and sounds wonderful! Hope you had a great holiday season and Happy New Year :)

  5. Funny, I'm also getting ready to make a big pot of cabbage with some shiitaki mushrooms. I've been trying to eat more vegetables and whole grains (to balance out the sweets) and this looks wonderful!

  6. What a lovely meal and perfect comfort food after food overload for weeks.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Dear Ela, happy new year. Thank you for your beautiful recipe... so tasty! Will try this in winter.

  8. Comforting and flavourful! I love it.

  9. A tasty dish! So comforting.

    Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014!



  10. ...I'm fasting (read trying to stay away from meat and rich food / deserts)...Perfect for 'after feast'....LOVE sourekraut!!
    I wish you a very Happy New year Ela!

  11. This looks so delicious!! Seriously, healthy comfort food! YUM :)

  12. This recipe is so perfect for the cold winter nights! We are having a snow storm here and I think this would make a great dinner!

  13. Wow this looks totally different than anything I've ever made but also really delicious! I love that you added the beans - we've been eating a lot more beans lately so that is perfect : )

  14. What a delicious, hearty dish! Perfect comfort food...which is what we need with a blizzard and wickedly cold temps headed our way. I have my mom's bigos recipe, but I'd love to try yours :)

  15. What a lovely and healthy meal! Haven't tried sauerkraut but have heard a lot about this pro biotic food. Happy New Year!

  16. This looks like a great meal for the cold weather we've been having! Looks delicious and warm :)

  17. My husband is a huge cabbage fan and I am always looking for cabbage dishes...This sounds delicious!

  18. Anonymous1/06/2014

    wow, i can barely omagine the cepes mushrooms fragrance on the veggies...
    i guess i love to stuffed ravioli with this!

    1. ...by all means...just skip the beans. :)

  19. I adore mushrooms and I adore cabbage so I know I'll the two together. Delicious!