The Hairy Bikers are back, and this time will be sharing their favourite home-cooked comfort food. In this new show to BBC One, Si and Dave give viewers ideas for delicious dishes that are easy to make and comforting to eat.
The series also looks at the stories behind some of our favourite dishes, those that have bonded families over generations, and goes into the home kitchens of top chefs to find out what comforting dishes they like to cook on their days off.
Runtime: 45 minutes
The Hairy Bikers' Comfort Food - Bigos - Netflix
Bigos (Polish pronunciation: [ˈbʲiɡɔs]; Belarusian: бігас, bigas, or бігус, bigus), often translated into English as hunter's stew, is a Polish dish of finely chopped meat of various kinds stewed with sauerkraut and shredded fresh cabbage. The dish is also traditional for Belarusian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian cuisine.
The Hairy Bikers' Comfort Food - History - Netflix
The word “bigos” is not attested before the 17th century. At that time, it referred to any dish of finely chopped components, usually meat or fish – but no cabbage – doused generously with melted butter and heavily seasoned with sour, sweet and spicy ingredients. Stanisław Czerniecki, head chef to Prince Aleksander Michał Lubomirski, who consistently used the diminutive form bigosek, included several recipes for it in his Compendium ferculorum (A Collection of Dishes), the first cookbook published originally in Polish, in 1682. They include bigosek prepared with chopped capon, hazel grouse, carp, pike, and crawfish with beef marrow. Seasonings that appear in most of these recipes include onions, wine vinegar, lemon or lime juice, verjuice, sorrel, sugar, raisins, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cumin. A manuscript recipe collection from the Radziwiłł family court, dating back to ca. 1686, contains instructions for cooking bigos of roast beef, fried fish and even chopped crêpes (thin pancakes). Kucharz doskonały (The Perfect Cook), a cookbook published by Wojciech Wielądko in 1783, contains recipes for beef, veal, wether mutton, oyster, as well as root vegetable bigos (the latter was a mixture of carrots, parsnip, rutabaga and celeriac). Bigos made entirely of meat and exotic spices was affordable only to the affluent Polish nobility. The 18th century saw the development of a poor man's version of the dish, known as bigos hultajski, or “rascal's bigos”, in which vinegar and lemon juice were replaced with cheaper sauerkraut as the source of tartness. Sauerkraut and cabbage also acted as a filler allowing to reduce the amount of meat in the dish. Rascal's bigos became common during the reign of King Augustus III of Poland (r. 1734–1763). Over the course of the 19th century, its rise in popularity continued as the proportion of meat decreased in favor of sauerkraut, eventually superseding all other kinds of bigos and losing the disparaging epithet in the process.
According to Polish food historian Maria Dembińska, bigos may derive from a medieval dish known in Latin as compositum, or “mixture”. It was made from various vegetables, such as cabbage, chard and onions, that were chopped or shredded, layered inside an earthenware three-legged Dutch oven and braised or baked. A remnant of this old procedure may be found in a bigos recipe, in which bacon and cabbage are arranged in layers, from the 19th-century Russian cookbook, A Gift to Young Housewives by Elena Molokhovets. Similar, layered dishes of medieval origin exist in other European cuisines; they include the Italian mescolanza (known in 16th-century Poland under the Polonized name, miszkulancja) and the Alsatian Baeckeoffe (also known as potée boulangère), made from cabbage, leftover meats and fruits. They are reminiscent of a rustic Polish casserole, known in various regions as pieczonka, prażonki, duszonki, maścipula, etc. It is traditionally made from sliced or diced potatoes, onions, carrots, sausages and bacon arranged in layers inside a cast-iron cauldron greased with lard and lined with cabbage leaves, which is placed in bonfire embers for baking.
The Hairy Bikers' Comfort Food - References - Netflix