Friday, July 4, 2014

Tempeh and Red Cabbage Stew - Polish Bigos - and Happy 4th!

It is very uncanny that I am offering you a Polish recipe on the 4th of July, but what can you do? It just turned out that way.

Bigos is a traditional Polish stew made out of sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) as the base ingredient. Sometimes, bigos is also made from fresh cabbage and this version is less popular. However, it is just as flavorful.  

I don't know about you, but I hardly ever have sauerkraut frolicking in my kitchen. During times like these, fresh cabbage is my go-to ingredient.

I spoke to my mom recently and she told me about this stew. Mom's flavorful description enticed me to make bigos this week. I chose red/purple cabbage instead of white because purple foods have SUPER POWERS, but you can use cabbage of choice. I also personalized this recipe using tempeh. Skip the tempeh if you like. You can substitute it with your favorite cooked beans. Be sure to add them to the stew at the end of cooking time. 

Tempeh and Red Cabbage Stew
Tempeh and Red Cabbage Stew
*This recipe requires at least 1.5 hours cooking time. 

1-2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
1 (8-oz package) organic tempeh of choice, cubed
1 medium red or white cabbage, shredded and core removed
4-5 large carrots, peeled and shredded
4 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
2 large bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole allspice seeds (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 cups mushroom broth (or 3 cups water and 2 mushroom bouillon cubes)

In a large soup pot, sauté the onion and tempeh in oil, over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir often and be sure to add a splash of water or two (about 1-2 teaspoons) to prevent from sticking to the pot. Add all spices and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Be sure to add a splash or two of water again to prevent from sticking to the pot.

Add the cabbage, carrots, mushroom broth, cover and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 1 hour. Uncover the pot, and continue cooking until all of the broth has been absorbed (about 1/2 hour). Be sure to stir once in a while.

Turn off the heat and taste for additional seasonings. At this point, you can remove the bay leaves. Be sure to look out for the whole allspice seeds, if using, when eating. I eat these seeds in the stew, and I do not mind it at all.

Serve over mashed potatoes or have it with slices of your favorite bread.

Store in the refrigerator, in a tightly closed container, for 3-4 days.
Smacznego or Bon Appetit! 

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