This tasty treat is known as Poland's national dish and possibly one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten made with cabbage in it!
I first discovered it... well, let's just say a few years ago (OK, two decades ago!) when I went to the Polish club in Melton with some friends, where they served it at the bar from a huge pot onto paper plates, and you'd get a generous portion with a couple of kabanos sausages on the side. I never knew that cabbage could be so tasty!
Being the curious cook I am, as with many dishes, I felt that I had to replicate it myself with the help of a bit of research, and some tips from a Polish friend, and I have been making it ever since with the odd tweak here and there over the years. Generally speaking, bigos is made with a base of meat (usually a mixture of game and/or pork shoulder, and smoked Polish sausage), sauerkraut and fresh cabbage, and a few other things - although it is said that there are as many recipes for bigos as there are cooks in Poland, so as you can see it is perfectly acceptable to substitute or omit ingredients to your taste!
Now, I like cabbage, but it's not my favourite vegetable cooked, and my other half doesn't even like it. My children are not overly fussed either way. However, by the time this stew has braised, it looks and tastes like no cabbage you have ever had before - an inviting coppery colour, tender and moist with deep, rich smoky flavours from the meat juices, sausage, wine and other delights in there, like the wild mushrooms which add a real depth. Everyone loves it, even the cabbage haters! So, even if you're dubious about it, I urge you to give it a try - you won't regret it and it's a brilliant winter warmer and very convenient to heat up quickly! See the notes at the bottom for slow cooker or pressure cooker suggestions.