Hunter's Sausage-and-Sauerkraut Stew

This Polish “hunter’s stew” typically combines at least three different meats, from wild game to pork ribs, sausages, and veal. Chef Andrew Zimmern uses lightly smoked bacon, chicken thighs, and kielbasa in his version. He also adds roasted bell peppers for depth, buttery chanterelles, and crisp-tender fennel. The stew simmers with fermented sauerkraut, another traditional element. “Thankfully,” says Zimmern, “[the sauerkraut] is available in almost any supermarket you walk into.”    Slideshow: More Stew Recipes 

Hunter's Sausage-and-Sauerkraut Stew
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
4 to 6


  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 4 tomatoes

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces diced bacon

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 3 cups fresh chanterelle or button mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1 leek, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup sliced garlic

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika

  • 1 1/2 pounds Polish kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 cups red wine

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 4 cups fresh sauerkraut with juices


  1. Preheat broiler. Place bell peppers on a small baking sheet, and roast under broiler or directly over a gas flame, turning frequently, until skins are blackened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until peppers are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard skins, stems, and seeds; place in a blender. Add tomatoes; process until smooth.

  2. Season chicken to taste with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add chicken thighs, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

  3. Add bacon to Dutch oven, and cook, stirring, until bacon begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add onion and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in fennel, leek, garlic, and paprika, and cook 2 minutes. Add kielbasa, dill, and parsley. Cook, stirring, until sausage is heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Return chicken to Dutch oven. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add pepper mixture, and bring to a simmer. Add stock and sauerkraut; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer gently until vegetables are tender and chicken shreds when prodded with a fork, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt, and serve.

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