Polish Hunter’s Stew

2 lbs. sauerkraut
½ lb. pork, cut into small pieces
½ lb. veal, cut into small pieces
½ lb. venison, rabbit or other wild game, cut into small pieces
½ lb.Polish sausage, cut into small pieces
½ lb. bacon, cut into strips any other leftover meat, optional
1 small cabbage, slice, optional
2 dried mushrooms

3 medium size onions, coarsely chopped
butter
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 small ripe tomatoes, peeled/ sliced
2 bay leaves, optional
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced, optional
1 tablespoon caraway seed
½ cup red or white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Sugar to taste

 

Put sauerkraut with its juice in a large pot. If a less strong taste is desired, drain the sauerkraut and replace the juice with fresh boiled water.  Bring to a boil on medium heat; reduce heat and simmer.  Fry bacon. Brown pork, veal, venison, rabbit or other fresh meat and Polish sausage in bacon grease.  Cook until almost done, then add to kraut.  Add any leftover ham or other smoked meat or any other cooked meat, all cut into small cubes.  Add cabbage.  Soak dry mushrooms in ½ cup wateruntil soft; dice and add to kraut with the water they were soaked in.  Brown the onions in butter; add fresh mushrooms and sauté until just about done.  Add entire contents of skillet to kraut pot.  Add tomatoes for color.  Add bay leaves and apples for sweetening; this will cause a less “wild” taste, if desired.  Add caraway seed.  Simmer for 3 to 4 hours, stirring often until all ingredients blend into a golden brown color.  It is best to make this a day or two ahead and let it simmer an hour or two each day, adding ingredients each day if desired.  Just before serving add wine, salt, pepper and sugar; stir.  Polish hunter’s stew is traditionally served with hard-crust rye bread or parboiled potatoes.