It is amazing how suddenly the weather changed, here in the UK. The cold wind sweeps the falling leaves on the streets and the overwhelming chill makes me dig through my wardrobe in search for some cosy, woolly jumpers and socks.
I always feel a bit down when the summer comes to an end. It is quite natural, I guess. Isn’t it? This contemplation over passing time and fading colours…?
Well, it does not bother these colourful, wonderful, happy babies!
Don’t they bring the smile right back on your face?!
Dive into the bowl of the naturally sweet and juicy, moreish and scrumptiously delicious Hungarian pepper stew with me and send the autumn blues away!
Hungarian pepper stew: 2:1:1
Like in nature, balance is secret to everything. The secret to authentic flavour of the Hungarian pepper stew is 2:1:1 ratio of peppers, tomatoes and onions. With the addition of few plump garlic cloves, fresh coriander, parsley, basil, sweet paprika and salt & black pepper, you’ll create a super tasty, simple, balanced ragout, which in Hungary is called Lecsó.
Lecsó is an old favourite in Hungary and it is to the Hungarians what fish & chips to the Brits.
Although, Hungarians love their peppers and paprika rather spicy, you can manipulate the heat level with sweet, ground paprika or, for the proper kick, a bit of fresh chilli. I prefer my pepper stew mild and simple, with loads of fresh herbs scattered over the piping hot dish and buttered slice of sour dough bread.
Eat peppers and stay healthy!
This super healthy dish is absolutely packed with antioxidants, vitamin A & C. It could keep you safe from nasty colds this autumn. Did you know that 1 red bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange?! What a shocker! I only came across this piece of information recently.
To achieve the perfect texture in the pepper stew:
- Use wide and deep pan which gives you enough space to move the ingredients comfortably and cook the stew evenly.
- Remember that all the veggies in this recipe are naturally juicy. The aim is to sweat them and lose the crunch. Overcooking will produce a broth, not the pepper stew.
- Tomatoes must be added at the very end.
- Pepper stew can be reheated without losing the right texture if stirred gently and frequently and on a low heat.
- 1 kg colourful, assorted bell peppers - cut to bite size pieces
- 500 g onions - roughly chopped
- 500 g assorted tomatoes (plum, cherry, etc.) - cut to bite size pieces
- 6 plump garlic cloves - sliced (they loose all pungency during cooking)
- 200 g smoked sausage (optional) - cut to bite size pieces
- 1 tsp ground, sweet paprika (or more if needed)
- 4 tbsp olive oil (or 3 tbsp lard)
- 2 tbsp fresh, chopped basil leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh, chopped coriander leaves
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- Optional: I don't mind omato skins, which separate from tomato flesh during cooking, but if you do, you can easily remove them with help of hot water. Place tomatoes in a deep bowl or a pan. Boil the kettle and pour the boiling water over the tomatoes - after a few minutes you’ll see that skins start to split and are very easy to peel off. Drain the water, peel the skins and slice the tomatoes to a bite-size pieces, reserve.
- In a wide, large pan sweat onions, sliced garlic (and smoked sausage if you chose to use it) in oil on a medium heat until the onions lose the crunch. Stir the content frequently and often.
- Add peppers, mix well and let them cook with the onions until they also lose the crunch, remember to stir the ingredients frequently.
- Lower the heat, add tomatoes and ground paprika. Mix the stew well and cook on a slow heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Tune the flavour with salt and pepper, sprinkle herbs over and serve with your favourite savoury bread.
ps. My fellow blogger Meg has shared this delicious Chunky Gazpacho recipe, also with peppers, toms & garlic – seriously tasty!
Looking for something sweet? Have a look at this Garamelised garlic and Pear Tartlets recipe!