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Bigos a Royal Polish Ragout

Savoring the warm and messy pleasures of an intensely flavorful Polish stew
Legend has bigos appearing in the late 14th century in Poland where Lithuanian Prince Wladislaus served it to his hunting party. This rustic hunter's stew contained sauerkraut and wine brought from home, and featured freshly killed hare, venison, boar and pheasant, all of which were abundant in the Polish forests. Bigos grew in popularity and is now Poland's national dish.
BIG FEAST: This Eastern European dish is packed with five different kinds of men Polish, "bigos" means confusion, or a big mess. This special stew varies from region to region and can also contain honey, apples, dried plums, bacon and ham. It is indeed neither tidy nor beautiful to behold. A rich and delicious complexity, however, more than compensates. And because this intensity of flavor increases when the stew is made in advance, preparation can fit seamlessly into even the busiest schedule. Cook up to a week ahead; then cool, refrigerate and gently reheat when time to eat. Alternatively, keep the stew in the freezer for months.
In the centuries since Wladislaus's demise, recipes for his ragout have become more refined. Because it is similar to Alsace's legendary and sauerkrauty choucroute garnie, bigos is often referred to by French cooks as "choucroute a la polonaise" despite the Poles proclaiming their version superior in every way.
Although even today bigos is relatively unknown in the United States, I managed to sample it in the 1970s at Boston's Café Budapest, where it was a menu fixture. The first piquant bite of fresh and pickled cabbages merging with the myriad meats and spices remains clear in my mind to this day.
Michael swore by the recipe in "Nela's Cookbook" by Nela Rubinstein, Lithuanian-born wife of the late Arthur Rubinstein and daughter of the illustrious conductor Emil Mlynarski, first director of the Warsaw Philharmonic. I borrowed Michael's copy of the 1983 volume, and was as taken with Nela's story as I was with her recipes.
This stew can also contain honey, apples, dried plums, bacon and ham.
As a child, she spent long days in the kitchens of her mother's Lithuanian estate watching cooks prepare traditional dishes. The family was driven from Lithuania by the advent of World War I. They moved first to Moscow and then to Warsaw at the close of the war, bigos went with them all the way and it became Nela's piece de resistance.
Nela met Arthur Rubinstein, arguably the greatest pianist of the modern era, through her father. After their marriage in 1932, they spent their first years together on tour, dining out in one famous restaurant after another. The new bride soon discovered she had "an odd but very useful talent." In her book, she tells us that "much as one might have a musical ear, I had the ability to decipher and identify the ingredients in even fairly elaborate dishes—and made a sort of game…of reproducing them at home without asking for recipes." Nela began experimenting in the couple's Montmartre studio, progressing quickly from simple scrambled eggs to more challenging soufflés, pierozkis, borschts and crème brûlées.
Soon cranky Arthur, a well-known gourmet, claimed that only his wife's cooking could satisfy his post-performance appetite; but he then complained loudly when everyone forgot his concerts while busily devouring Nela's suppers. Legendary restaurateur George Lang commented, "It's just possible that Arthur Rubinstein played Chopin's mazurkas better than anyone since Chopin because of his wife's almond mazurkas [also the name of a sweet Polish pastry]."
In 1941, the Rubinsteins left Paris for Hollywood, where Nela made bigos for everyone from Katharine Hepburn to Charlie Chaplin. Once, she prepared the dish for the Broadway cast and crew of "Children of a Lesser God" in a tiny two-burner New York hotel kitchenette. Her son John Rubinstein was starring in the play, and the party for 50 was to be in her daughter Eva's photography studio in Chelsea. Nela tells us how she cooked up the bigos, and then "carried the whole feast down to Eva's studio in plastic pails."
Friends and family clamored for her recipes. Easier said than done, however, as instructions to herself were highly abbreviated multilingual scribblings on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes. Demand for a book grew, but it took years of encouragement from Julia Childs's long-time editor, Judith Jones, to convince Nela to write the charming and inspiring "Nela's Cookbook." Recipes for the old-world dishes of her childhood all yield excellent results; but Nela tells us, "of all the dishes in this book, bigos is the one I recommend to you most enthusiastically." Nela's version is a tried-and-true distillation of a centuries-old recipe perfected by generations of family cooks. She suggests serving it with traditional accompaniments: fresh horseradish, an array of mustards, caraway-studded rye bread and boiled potatoes. Iced vodka, cold German beer and an Alsatian Riesling are all good choices to drink with the meal.
Over the years—like Wladislaus's original hunters—I've made bigos using various meat and poultry combinations, often based on the contents of my freezer. The recipe is flexible and forgiving, so try using what you have on hand.
My most recent tryst with bigos occurred a few weeks ago, on a frigid mid-January evening. As several of the guests did not eat red meat, I tried using poultry only—two roast ducks, three roast chickens and spicy turkey sausage replacing the kielbasa. The result was divine, and no less delicious than the meaty original. I also roughly smashed with a bit of butter, salt and pepper the boiled potatoes that normally accompany the dish, instead of leaving them whole, as is typical. Though not traditional, this provided an ideal bed for the stew. I shredded an extra head of cabbage. Mixed into the bigos and put underneath along with the potatoes, it lightened things up and provided the welcome crunch of something raw. When the bigos was gone, guests scraped their plates, proving once again, as Nela said, there is "nothing better than a big pot of savory bigos."
Bigos Cooking Time: 2½ to 3½ hours Serves: 16
1 four- to five-pound duck, pricked all over with a fork and roasted in a 400 degree oven until done, about an hour. When cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and cut the meat into 1-inch pieces.
3 ounces dried wild mushrooms, rinsed and then soaked for at least 30 minutes in 3 cups of warm beef, chicken, duck or pork stock. Drain and coarsely chop the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
3½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, stewing beef, venison, or a mixture, cut into 2-inch cubes
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound bacon slices cut into ½-inch lengths
6 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cups shredded green cabbage
3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated
4 pounds homemade or packaged sauerkraut (not canned), rinsed well in cold water
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ pounds precooked kielbasa, peeled if necessary and cut into 1-inch slices
½ pound cooked ham, cut into 1-inch dice
1 bouquet garni (12 black peppercorns, 12 crushed juniper berries, and 2 bay leaves tied together in cheesecloth)
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
1 cup dry red wine
Fresh rye bread, sliced ,Hot boiled potatoes,Grated horseradish (fresh if possible),Prepared mustards
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
What to Do
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add cubed meat and brown well on all sides. Add 1½ cups of water or extra stock, salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2. While meat is cooking, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add bacon, onions, fresh cabbage and carrots, and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are golden, about 20 minutes.
3. Add apples and sauerkraut and cook 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.
4. While meat and vegetables are cooking, place sugar in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and then simmer until light brown. Immediately stir the caramel into vegetable mixture.
5. After meat has cooked for an hour, add cooked duck pieces, vegetable mixture, sliced kielbasa, ham, soaked mushrooms and their liquid, bouquet garni, tomatoes and wine to the casserole. Cover and return to the oven for 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat is very tender, on the verge of falling apart. Remove bouquet garni and add salt and pepper if needed. If sauce is too thick, add water or broth. If sauce is too thin, ladle into a saucepan and reduce until the desired consistency is reached, then return to the casserole.
Ideally, cool the stew and then refrigerate it for up to four days. The flavors will marry and intensify. Remove any fat that rises to the top before reheating. To serve, reheat gently on top of the stove, adjust seasonings, garnish with parsley if desired, and serve accompanied by horseradish, mustards, rye bread and hot boiled potatoes


Menu nie jest książką telefoniczną


Właściciele polskich restauracji uważają, że im więcej dań w menu, tym lepiej. A jest dokładnie na odwrót - gdy menu jest ograniczone, klient ma pewność, że to, co dostaje na talerzu, jest świeże, a restauracja nie wydaje pieniędzy na zbędne produkty i nie mrozi ich.Dziś główne menu restauracji zmieniamy dwa, trzy razy w roku lub zależnie od sezonu, natomiast menu degustacyjne co tydzień i jest to szansa na zaprezentowanie możliwości, użycie produktów stricte sezonowych czy okazjonalnie kupionych.

Najlepiej stosować zasadę 4x4 - 4 dania z wołowiny,4 dania z wieprzowiny,4 dania z drobiu,oraz 4 dania z ryb i owoców morza. Pamiętam restauracje w Niemczech która miała tylko 4 dania(steki) i rezerwacje trzeba było robić z miesięcznym wyprzedzeniem

Dobra restauracja to miejsce, do którego przychodzi dużo ludzi na dobre jedzenie za niezbyt wygórowaną cenę, albo takie, w którym jest drogo, i ale za to serwowane dania są tak pyszne i czasochłonne oraz zbyt skomplikowane żeby zrobić je samemu w domu , tak że goście stoją w kolejce, żeby móc tu zjeść. Taką restaurację mogą stworzyć pasjonaci, którzy sami lubią jeść i dobrze karmić innych, pieniądze schodzą w tym przypadku na dalszy plan.


Poznałem ten owoc w Malazji 2007 roku.Często piłem świeżo wytłaczany sok z niego,pycha

Cytrus-hybryda, jest starodawną krzyżówką kwaśnej mandarynki i japońskiego kumkwatu. Owoc szczególnie popularny na Filipinach, pachnie i smakuje cytrusami, trawą cytrynową, werbeną. Dodaje się go do mrożonej herbaty i marynat,dań mięsnych, robi z niego soki, pikle, dżemy, chutneye. Z zagęszczonego soku połączonego z octem winnym powstaje pięknie pachnący ocet-balsam.