Hunter’s Stew

This is an adaptation of the classic Hunter’s Stew, called Bigos in Poland where it is almost the national dish. A tasty mixture of venison, chicken, sausage and sauerkraut, it is virtually a meal in itself and needs only’ some rye or sour dough bread and a hearty red wine such as Bull’s Blood or with lager to make a filling winter’s meal.

4 fl. oz. vegetable oil

2 medium-sized onions, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 ½ lb. canned sauerkraut, drained

1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 lb. lean stewing venison, cut into

2-inch cubes

2 whole chicken breasts, boned and cut into

3-inch pieces

1 large green pepper, white pith removed, seeded and chopped 8 oz. Polish garlic sausage, peeled, thickly sliced crosswise and then halved

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, drained

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried dill

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 fl. oz. home-made beef stock 6 fl. oz. red wine

In a large frying-pan, heat 2 fluid ounces of the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the sauerkraut and stir until the ingredients are well blended. Stir in the apple, caraway seeds and ½ teaspoon of the pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauerkraut mixture into a very large, deep casserole.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Add the remaining oil to the frying-pan and heat it over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the venison and chicken to the pan and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the meat cubes are lightly browned on all sides.

With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Add the green pepper and sausage to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, dill, cayenne and the remaining pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for a further 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mixture to the sauerkraut

Made with beef and herring and flavoured with dill, caraway seeds and sour cream, Hussar Meat Loaf is an unusual Russian meat loaf. mixture in the casserole, stirring to blend well. Pour in the stock and wine.

Cover the casserole and place it in the oven. Bake the stew for 1 hour. Add the chicken pieces to the casserole and bake for a further 1 hour, or until the venison and chicken are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve at once.

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