In a large pot heat up 3 tablespoons of the oil, add the caraway seeds, juniper and allspice berries, bay leaf and onion and gently fry for 3 minutes stirring often
Push the onion mixture to the side and add the chicken thighs. Fry for 2 minutes on each side.
Add the sauerkraut, cabbage, prunes, tomato paste, mushrooms, marjoram, paprika, pepper to taste and half of the water and stir to combine. Close the lid, bring to the boil then simmer for 1 hour.
In a frying pan heat up the remaining oil (1-2 tablespoons) and fry the chopped sausage until crispy stirring often. Add the sausage (not the fat) into the stew and continue cooking gently for another hour. Add a little more water at this point if you like.
Remove the chicken from the pot, separate the meat from the bone and put the meat pieces back into the pot. Serve with mashed potatoes or rye/pumpernickel bread.
I recommend buying the sauerkraut in a Polish delicatessen. Look for organic, preservative free sauerkraut that’s yellowish in colour, not grey.
Use any meat you like but ensure it’s dark, not white (not chicken breast or pork tenderloin for example).
Use any Polish sausage (kielbasa) but ensure it’s smoked (most are). I used smoked chicken sausage. You can also add crisped up bacon or pieces of chopped ham.
Wash the porcini thoroughly by placing in a bowl with a little water and rubbing with your fingertips to get rid of any grit. Then rinse under cold water and add into the bigos.
Add the water The stew should be full of moisture though adding too much water may result in a soupy consistency, which is not what you want.
Do NOT add any salt into your bigos. Both sauerkraut as well as Polish sausage are quite salty so all you’ll need is pepper to taste.