Leczo is a bell pepper stew that originally hails from Hungary (where it is spelled lecso). At some point, variations made their way through the region and over to Poland. This is NOT a recipe for an authentic Hungarian Lecso, but it does contain some of the necessary fundamentals: peppers, onion, tomato, and paprika. The end result is still delicious and can be a vegetarian stew/ragout used to top something like rice or buckwheat, or it can include kielbasa or other meat to make it a heartier standalone stew. Or it can just be a great side. This recipe is also much thicker than a lot of other leczo recipes out there, but you can obviously combine elements of all and adjust based on your preferences. 🙂
*A note on one of the ingredients—Hungarian wax peppers are very difficult to find in any store or market. They are much hotter than a regular banana pepper, and can be hotter than jalapenos. If somehow you can find Hungarian wax peppers, use one in place of both the banana pepper and the red pepper flakes. Assuming that you won’t find Hungarian wax peppers, stick with the recipe below!
- 3 red bell peppers (yellow or orange are fine too)
- 2 yellow onions
- 2 campari tomatoes, diced (or 1 cup of diced canned tomatoes)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 banana pepper* (see note above)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes* (see note above)
- 2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cut onions in half and the cut into thin slices. Add to a large pan over medium heat with about 2 tbsp of oil or butter. Add a few pinches of salt and the red pepper flakes* and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cut bell peppers and the banana pepper lengthwise into quarters and then slice those into thin strips. Once the onions have softened, add peppers to the pan with another 2 pinches of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add all of of the remaining ingredients together and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is at the texture and consistency you want. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.