For my third Hungarian Series Recipe, I present to you Lecsó (pronounced leh-ch-oh), a true Hungarian staple. This dish is excellent on it’s own, as a side or a base. Back home in Hungary, everyone has their own way of eating this. My cousin Szabolcs likes to crack a few eggs in and let them scramble in the mixture, my cousin Kitti likes to make it extra spicy and my sister prefers to add hot dogs to it and eat it like that, the list goes on! You can also add noodles, rice or serve on potatoes. I like to transform this for breakfast and make it shakshuka style by cracking a few eggs into it, putting on the lid and letting them cook until the yolks are perfectly runny and eat them with toast. When it comes to putting your own spin on it, the limit does not exist.
Oil (or szalonna or pork lard)
1 tbsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Paprika
3 Hot Peppers (optional)
Chop all of your veggies up into bit sized pieces. This will stew for a while, so they will break down quite a bit and don’t need to be teeny tiny.
Traditionally for this dish, you would cut up some Hungarian Smoked Bacon (szalonna) and fry it to render the fat for frying your veggies and add flavour. If you decide to go full vegetarian for this dish, you can simply use oil instead.
Add your onions, salt them and let them sweat until translucent. You don’t want them to brown, but they should be soft- about 10 minutes.
Once they’re soft, add your peppers and cook those down as well for about 10-15 minutes. If you wanted it to be spicy, now would be the time to add your hot peppers. Of course, Hungarian Hot Peppers are preferred, but any hot pepper will do.
Then add your diced tomatoes and stew for about 30- 40 minutes. After about 20 minutes, add your paprika, give it a mix and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly. In the event you're super low on liquid, just add a little water to ensure nothing is burning to the bottom of your pot.
I should note, you can do this in a much shorter timeline as well. I like to go about 1-1.5 hours total because I like when all the veggies are fully broken down, but if you don’t want your tomatoes stewed for too long and you want your veggies to have a bit of crunch, just add them and mix until they’re where you want them to be. It’s totally your preference, there really is no wrong answer here.
And that's it. The most basic of basic recipes packed full of flavour!
Another thing I like to do is double or triple the above recipe and jar it for later use. This way lunch or dinner is done in a matter of 5 minutes, all it take is the time to heat it up.