A healthy version of Polish Bigos


Bigos is a Polish hunter’s stew.  It contains bacon, pork, and polish sausage.  All things that taste good, but could raise your sodium for the day through the roof.  I love Polish food.  With Hamtramk about an hour from here, we know good authentic Polish food.  This recipe is one that needs to preserve the rich taste while making this into a more healthy dish.  A healthy version of any dish shouldn’t suck.  That’s a big goal of mine when cooking, make it healthy and make it taste good.  Many times in the attempt to make a dish healthy, they turn out bland.  Not this one.  In the original recipe from Polaska Foods, there are some good things in there too.  There are carrots, cabbage, mushrooms and onions.  This recipe makeover is a challenge.  I love a good challenge.

Here are the original stats:

  • 423 Calories
  • 23g Fat
  • 44mg Cholesterol
  • 1048mg Sodium
  • 958mg Potassium
  • 32g Carbohydrates
  • 20g of Protein
  • 110% Vitamin A
  • 26% Vitamin C
  • 7% Calcium
  • 22% Iron

As you can see the sodium is sky high.  So is the fat.  However, the potassium, protein and vitamin A look great.  So it’s not all bad.  I think we can make this a lot more healthy.

Here is what I changed:

  • I deleted the sauerkraut (it makes me sad to do this, but the sodium is outrageous.  Sauerkraut only has two ingredients: cabbage and salt) and added a whole head of cabbage.
  • I replaced the beef broth with low sodium chicken broth
  • I deleted the bacon and sausage. I added a tablespoon of olive oil to replace the fat.  I replaced the sausage with ground turkey seasoned like kielbasa.
  • I increased the servings to 9.

I was pleasantly surprised with the stats.  I didn’t have to add anything extra to beef up the vitamin counts.  I thought this was going to be harder to accomplish, but I’m glad it worked out.

Here are the updated stats:

  • 289 Calories
  • 11g Fat
  • 57mg Cholesterol
  • 190mg Sodium
  • 570mg Potassium
  • 35g Carbohydrates
  • 21g of Protein
  • 100% Vitamin A
  • 92% Vitamin C
  • 10% Calcium
  • 14% Iron

A healthy version of Polish Bigos:

Serves 9

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey Kielbasa (see recipe below)
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 3-4 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped prunes

For the ground turkey kielbasa:

  • 1lb ground turkey (85/15)
  • 2 Drops liquid smoke
  • 1-1/4 Teaspoons ground sage
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon dried marjoram

Add the spices to the ground turkey and mix until combined.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven until shimmering
  2. Add the onions and all the meat.  Cook until the onions and the meat are browned.
  3. Add all the ingredients (except the prunes) to the pot.
  4. Turn the heat to low and cook until the meat is cooked and the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce (2-3 hours)
  5. Add the prunes and cook another 10 minutes.

8 thoughts on “A healthy version of Polish Bigos

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