Friday, October 7, 2011

Lecsó – or what to do with too many peppers

As noted in my previous post I had a lot of peppers, red and green, and tomatoes on hand from my last harvest and since I didn’t even consider to pickle or can them, only alternative for me was to cook and freeze them. One recipe that I knew would work was Hungarian Lecsó.
Lecsó is a sort of pepper, onion and tomato stew cooked slowly on stove-top for long time and served as is, with potatoes or meat and potatoes. Since I was going to freeze it I have made plain version that will be kicked up quite a bit when re-heated and served with whatever I choose. Just as an experiment I will one day chop the Lecsó and use it as a pizza sauce. I think that it will be quite good!
Cooking this dish is a walk in the park; it is the prep that takes so much time. Cleaning, seeding and slicing the peppers is so labor intensive! I tried to slice the peppers in food processor but I was faster slicing them with my Chinese cleaver than using Cuisinart. Well, I still have all my digits and without a single Band-Aid.
As usual, because of heavy bottom of the pot I use my pressure cooker. By the way, that is a lot of peppers to clean and cut!

Caramelize the onions...

add peppers and cook till they soften...

add tomatoes and cook for about 2 hours. At first covered and then with cover off.

Add Hungarian paprika and simmer for another 1/2 hour. If the sauce is too watery, add some tomato paste (I did).

Ready as a base for other recipes.


Anonymous said...

Do they in Central Europe traditionally dry peppers like they do in Latin American countries?

Jerry said...

In Hungary every country or village house has hundreds, if not thousands, red peppers strung up for drying. For me and many others Hungarian sweet and hot paprika is much more flavorful then Spanish paprika. On top of it, Hungarian paprika is so much more tolerant when it comes to cooking heat.