Here is an ancient dish which originated in Serbia. Lecso is very versatile and essentially, is a stew of onions, various shaped and sized peppers including hot and yellow banana peppers, tomatoes and paprika. By adding sliced Kolbász, it becomes a main dish. Served as a side dish with any breaded meat; veal or pork is a perfect match. Excellent with scrambled eggs for breakfast! Many people refer to this is the Hungarian Ratatouille.
- 2 tablespoons fat (bacon) or 2 tablespoons lard (bacon)
- 3 medium onions
- 3 red peppers
- 3 hot white hungarian bell peppers
- 1 hot banana pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 fresh tomato
- 1 (14 ounce) can stewed tomatoes (whole)
- 1⁄4 cup tomato paste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 dash hot Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 lb Hungarian sausage (Kolbasz)
- 1⁄2 cup water
- METHOD: In a heavy, straight-sided sauté pan or a casserole (like a Dutch Oven), melt three generous tablespoons of delicious lard.
- Prepare all peppers, core, devein and cut into 4-6 long narrow wedges.
- Cut onions into ½ moon slices. Place onions and peppers into the lard on high heat. Stir-fry until it becomes like a stew, cooked, but still firm; only about 6-8 minutes - no longer, you want the integrity of the peppers to remain in tact and the bright colours to stay. Then, add all seasonings, stewed tomatoes and paste.
- Adding the Hungarian Sausage: Take 1 pair of Hungarian Kolbász (Sausage) and slice it on the “diagonal” – the visual effect is important. You can add the slices right into the pepper stew and let it stew together if it’s not too dry. Other sausage variations like Debrecen are ideal, but the drier ones, like the Gyulai sausage are exceptionally delicious. Note: if the sausage is too dry – stew beforehand in ½ cup water in a shallow saucepan for 10-15 minutes before adding it to the peppers. (Add both stewing liquid and sausage to the peppers).
- Let simmer until all flavours are melded; about 4-6 minutes. Warning – when you are stirring, use a wooden slotted spoon so as not to break up the peppers – you are not going for baby food!
- Serving Suggestions: Serve with fluffy white jasmine rice and/or fresh Hungarian white bread. You can jazz it up or play it down. However you use, it you will find it to be very complimentary with a variety of your favourite dishes.