Saturday, November 16, 2013

Polish Spareribs and Sauerkraut Stew

This is a traditional Polish stew called Bigos or Hunter's Stew.  There are so many variations of this pork dish.
You can go to Hog Heaven and add smoked pork shoulder, pork butt, bacon and kielbasa.  Spareribs and sauerkraut are something I've never had outside of my own home.  This is the way my mother made it, and it's a perfect dish for a cold winter day.  She always served it with simple boiled, mashed potatoes and fried onions.

2 lbs. meaty spareribs (or country style)
2 lbs. sauerkraut 
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2-1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium onion diced
Salt and Pepper

Season ribs with salt and pepper.  In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.  Add spareribs and brown lightly on both sides.  Add onion and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

 Deglaze with white wine.  Add sauerkraut.  You can drain it and rinse it depending on how sour you like your kraut.  I don't drain or rinse.  Add bay leaves.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until pork is very tender, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  Adjust salt and pepper.

Cook potatoes in boiled salted water until tender.  Drain. Saute onions in butter until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

Add fried onions with the butter and mash with an old-fashioned potato masher (if you have one). Season with salt and pepper.  If the potatoes seem a little dry, add a splash of milk.

We always had this in soup bowls.  Place a generous amount of smashed potatoes in your bowl, and cover it with the tender pork and sauerkraut along with the juices.

I suppose if you've never had spareribs and sauerkraut, it might not look very appealing, but they are wonderful.  The ribs are as tender as can be and just melt in your mouth. The sauerkraut is mild and flavorful from the meat juices.  A spoonful of those mashed potatoes with fried onions with all those juices and sauerkraut....hog heaven.

My mom would have never added the wine, or garnish with parsley, it's a peasant dish - one that truly brings me back home to Mom's Kitchen.



  1. Any kind of pork and sauerkraut is Mr. Rosemary's all-time, number one, absolutely favorite dish in the whole wide world! And you can even throw in hot dogs for him! You're right, it's hard to get a pretty picture of this dish, but it's a crowd pleaser, and a New Year must!

  2. Patti, you've done it again - My mouth is watering and I'm dreaming of the Old Country! And congrats on the excellent photography :)

  3. I love the picture at the end of the recipe. We had the exact same table, stove and refrigerator. Even the way you are sitting reminds me of me. Thanks for this "memory recipe"!


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