Fermented Winter Dishes

bigos Hunter's stewWhat we have at the moment in Ireland is the first breath of Spring, but in Poland the end of January is pretty much the middle of Winter. Nobody is fooled by a few warmer days because February and March are usually very cold months.    

So, let me say a few words about traditional Polish Winter dishes.

A long time ago people in Poland kept barrels with sauerkraut at home as it used to be the staple Winter food. As I said, Winter in Eastern Europe can be really long and cold, so the abundance of amazingly delicious, warming and not-so-healthy traditional dishes makes it a bit more enjoyable.

First of all, we have our famous bigos, translated sometimes as Hunter’s Stew. It’s sauerkraut and meat stew. Sounds simple, but in fact, the dish is quite elaborate and takes a lot of time to prepare. At our home bigos is made twice a year (for Christmas and Easter) and OBG is very secretive about the recipe. I only know that he uses four different kinds of meat and his Mum sends him dried wild mushrooms from Poland along with smoked prunes for this purpose. The result is stunning and looks like that

bigos-sauerkraut stew

I hope to be able to share the recipe with you one day. For now, check this one, it’s quite awesome, too.

A few years ago I went for a short winter holiday to a Polish ski resort and saw this pot with bigos in a café next to a skiing slope.bigos Hunter's stew

The dish is constantly heated by the gas fire underneath, what you cannot see on the picture but you have to believe me. People of different nationalities come straight from the slope to rest in the café and are welcomed by the irresistible smell.  This is what I call the winter wonderland! Needless to say, the bigos is always served with sourdough bread.

I took the picture not because I knew I would be running a Fermented Food blog in five years, but because I was so amazed to see that not all outdoor activities are accompanied solely by gummy burgers and cold-bun-hot-dogs.

Another sauerkraut based hot dish extremally popular in Poland are pierogi z kapustą, sauerkraut filled dumplings. These are classic Polish comfort food.  However, people don’t get addicted to them that often, because the recipe is rather time-consuming and requires some manual skills. Of course, you can buy pierogi in most Polish grocery shops, but they are never quite the same as homemade ones.

My son, M, is the one at our home who makes pierogi because he is a person of many surprising talents and he likes messy activities.  He is also the most patient of us all.pierogi z kapustą

I will continue the topic in the next post. Hopefully, winter will be still with us (I don’t believe I wrote that…)

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to drop a comment!






4 thoughts on “Fermented Winter Dishes”

    1. If you have kids send them for holiday to Poland; chances are somebody will teach them how to make pierogi. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!


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