Sunday, October 6, 2013

Polish Bigos Veganized and Delicious

My favorite time of year is here. Fall. Season for cozy soups, one pot wonders, crockpot, spiced apple cider, cool nights around the fire, drinking red wine...

This week I had a craving for this old, traditional polish dish made from cabbage and sour kraut called bigos.  Traditionally bigos contains large amounts of meat, like sausage, pork shoulder, bacon, and any other kind of meats you can find in your refrigerator. It's definitely a meat dominated dish. I made vegan bigos once before but it was lacking the flavor I knew from the past. I gave up the idea of full flavored, great tasting bigos for a while. Until last week, as I was sitting at my desk at work, in the middle of the day, not even thinking about food, this great idea popped to my head. I decided to  use BBQ sauce in my bigos recipe - i figured the smokiness of molasses should give me the flavor i was looking for. I rushed home to try my new idea. After 2 hours of prep and slow simmering, I had the most amazing, delicious and full of flavor pot of vegan bigos I could only imagine.

                    [ the photo shoot was late in the day, right before it got dark, so the pictures are not anything special ]

The recipe, ok I'm not sure if I can provide specific measurements, since most of my cooking is based on eyeballing the ingredients. Here is the list of ingredients that went to the cast iron, heavy pot:

1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
[saute onions until translucent]

3-4 cups of freshly shredded green cabbage
3-4 cups of sour kraut, reserve the juice
1 cup of sour kraut juice (or less, depends how sour you like it to be)
2 cups of water or vegetable stock
if adding water, use veggie bullion cube or two
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
2-3 TBS tomato paste
[add to the pot after onion is cooked, mix well, om medium high heat bring to a boil. make sure your cabbage mix is just covered by liquids]

smoked chipotle pepper
bay leaf
whole peppercorns
hungarian paprica
about a 1/2 cup of thick, smoky, organic BBQ sauce
[mix in, let it cook on low heat for an hour or longer, until the cabbage is soft]

optional ingredients:
smoked tofu and vegan smart dogs, chopped in a small dice, sauteed on the pan with little olive oil and tamari sauce, until become crispy, bacon bits-like, add to the pot on last 20 minutes of cooking.

I hope you give it a try, please adjust ingredients to your own taste, serve with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, sliced of good polish rye bread.

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