Hungarian Tomato-Pepper Stew (Lecso)


Found on the website The Spruce Eats, this recipe was submitted by Executive chef and food writer Barbara Rolek. She tells us that Hungarian Tomato-Pepper Stew is a vegetable stew that combines three favorite Hungarian ingredients: peppers, tomatoes and paprika. Lecso (LEH-choh) can be served as a vegetable side dish, appetizer or main dish. (Note variations below.)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Bacon grease (or oil)
1 medium Onion (sliced thinly)
1 pound peppers (Hungarian wax, banana, Italian or green bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch strips)
3 large very ripe Tomatoes (peeled and chopped, or use shortcut shown below)
1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt (less if using sausage)
1 Tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Directions:
1. In a large skillet, sauté the onion in bacon fat or oil over low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add pepper strips and cook another 15 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and paprika and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until mixture resembles chunky tomato sauce.
Shortcut: Use 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans drained diced tomatoes instead of fresh.
Here are Barbara’s variations:
1. Add 1/4 cup cooked rice to the finished dish and warm through.
2. For an appetizer, add 1/4 pound thin-sliced Hungarian Debreceni sausage* to the finished dish.
3. Toward the end of the cooking time, add 4 beaten eggs and mix in.
4. For a main meal, add 1 1/2 pounds smoked or fresh Hungarian sausage.
5. For a lunch, serve in a bowl topped with a fried egg.

*Debreceni Kolbasz (or Debrecener): This pork sausage, heavily spiced with paprika, garlic, pepper, and marjoram, is reddish-orange in color and named after the Hungarian city of Debrecen. It usually is unsmoked or lightly smoked and baked, broiled or fried and used in dishes like lecso.

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