To be absolutely honest I wrote this post already in May, and the reason why I could cook this dish was simple. My boyfriend was away for a few days, and since he doesn’t eat any kind of pepper at all- I admit the list of things he doesn’t eat isn’t long!- I was free to make it. I drafted the post and then completely forgot about it 😀 A few days ago Ngan posted this great recipe Roasted Gypsy Pepper and Walnut Dip and I commented on it saying that, I knew Gypsy Peppers before, because my mom used to use them to make very popular Hungarian vegetable stew called Letscho. Then I thought why not share the recipe here? So I made it once again, took some new pictures and it’s here ready for you. As for the pictures by the way, I was wondering if you had at least a similar experience: peppers and tomatoes are great to be photographed when they are NOT cooked. Once you cook them, the whole drama starts.
As far as I can remember, almost every summer my mom was dicing literally “mountains” of onions, sweet peppers, and tomatoes straight from the garden and there was this whole crowd of people- family and friends eating letscho when it was ready. Such nice memories of a yummy sausage in the letscho, warm summer evenings, good bread and all of us seating around the table, outside of the house of course! Here I prepared the vegetarian version, as I’m aware that many of you don’t eat meat, however letscho is not a vegetarian dish by all means, and the way I remember it from my childhood is always this wonderful and tasty mix of sausages, or smoked bacon and the veggies. For those of you, who feel like having it with meat I will explain below how to make it with sausages. I hope you will like it, as it’s perfect for the summer, so full of flavors, and colors too. We like it so much, that my mom still makes letscho for the winter time in the jars! And if you would like to know how to do it, I will ask her and update this post.
Makes 3/4 servings, but it’s up to you how many peppers, onions and tomatoes you wish to use, preparation time- around 15-20 min, cooking time- until the veggies are nicely tender- not longer than 40 min though. So here is what I used:
- 3 sweet peppers- feel free to use any color you like, and also you can mix different types of peppers
- 3-4 medium sized onions- or more if you decide to make more letscho
- 4-5 tomatoes- or as above
- some fresh basil leaves- this is optional, I started adding them some time ago
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
- sausages and smoked bacon- optional and for non-vegetarians, as many sausages as you wish to, one/two slices of smoked bacon is more then enough
- salt and white pepper
- Have some water aside
Letscho is so easy to make that it’s easy to get addicted to it, especially if you have a big family in the house visiting for the summer! And of course if you can supply yourself with tomatoes, sweet peppers and onions.
Prepare the vegetables, dice them in reasonably thin pieces. Heat the olive oil in a big sauce pan, or a cast iron skillet- like mine- diameter of 30 cm. This is a one pot dish, so make sure that you adjust the size of the pan accordingly.
If you want to make the non-vegetarian version, cut the bacon into small cubes and fry it with the onions for about 10 min, and after that add the rest of the vegetables- all of them. Combine all ingredients and stew, stirring occasionally. For the vegetarian version it’s faster and easier, because once the olive oil gets hot, simply add the vegetables, mix them in the pan and let them stew slowly. I usually lower the fire. Add some salt and pepper. Also do not forget to add some water from time to time, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
The important thing for the non-vegetarian version is, when to add the sausages. I usually do it after 20 min or so, when the peppers start getting tender. What you can also do, is to fry the sausages and add them at the very end- oh my, one of my favorites ways of doing it! Just let them stew in the sauce for another 5-10 min or so. Also, regardless whether your letscho is vegetarian or not, don’t forget to add the freshly chopped basil.
And below: my letscho ready to go 🙂 Yummy! I guess I should mention, that you can also have it with pasta! The sauce will be delicious with any kind of pasta you like, and some red wine please!