Hungarian Lecsó

A recipe for this classic Hungarian dish. Pepper perfection for summer or winter fare.

Lecsó or Letscho (pronounced LETCH cho) is a lovely thick vegetable ragout featuring peppers, onions, tomatoes, and paprika.  This recipe is traditionally found in Hungary, Austria, Poland, Czech and further east in Europe, you can see variations in a number of countries such as Ratatouille in France and Shakshouka in Israel. 

Stacks of shiney red, green and yellow Hungaian Wax peppers in the Great Market Hall of Budapest.  One or two of these will spice up your Lecsó
Hungarian Wax Peppers has the heat of a jalapeño found in the Great Market Hall in Budapest, Hungary

Lecsó recipes can vary in heat depending on the peppers and the chilis used. This spicy sauce is excellent served with rice or crusty bread, as a vegetarian main dish or a hearty side accompanying fish, roast chicken, pork, or beef.  Lecsó easily transitions between summer and winter seasons being served warm or cold and breaking away from tradition can offer a wonderful base for a plethora of additions.

Large Paella style pans used to cook down peppers for Lecsó at a street fair in Budapest
Lecsó at a festival in Budapest

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for Hungarian Lecsó recipe:  A collander filled with colorful peppers and small bowl with paprika, onion, garlic, and chili
The ingredients
  • 6 peppers: a combination of red, yellow & green bell peppers, Hungarian wax peppers or banana peppers cored and sliced into medium size strips.
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • A few chilis minced
  • 3 tbsp paprika smoked, sweet, or both
  • 6 ripe tomatoes cored and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

EQUIPMENT

  • Large pan or pot

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in pan. 
  2. Add onion and sauté. 
  3. Add garlic, chili, and paprika and stir until fragrant. 
  4. Add peppers and sauté for a few minutes. 
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until broken down and saucy roughly 30 minutes.
  6. Season to taste and dish out hot or let sit and serve cold.    

Lecsó has such a delicious and wonderful base for creativity and variation, below are some additional options you can include to change it to your tastes and preferences.

Extra goodies:

Olives, Capers, feta, sour cream, basil, kielbasa, sausage, bacon, zucchini, eggplant, or crack a few eggs and bake them right in the sauce.

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