In summer time, especially when the temperature reaches 35 °C – in the shadow! –, one of the most important criteria when it comes to cooking, is to spend the least time possible in the kitchen next to the hot stove. Of course there are many dishes not requiring any cooking, but if you’re fed up with sandwiches and salads and would like to get some hot food in your stomach, check out this typical Hungarian summer dish. You have to cook it, it’s true, but it doesn’t take long and for sure it’s worth to “suffer” next to the stove, because it’s delicious. So let’s see what lecsó is and how to prepare it.
Lecsó is the most common summer dish in Hungary. It’s basically a one-pot dish – so can’t be too complicated to cook, right? – which uses up the gorgeous peppers and tomatoes invading the market stalls and the gardens from mid-summer onwards. Before any meat-lover stops reading this post, lecsó doesn’t contain only vegetables but also other things. So let’s see how this dish is prepared.
- Slice the onions, the peppers (not too thin), the garlic cloves and the sausage, chop the tomatoes and cut the bacon to small cubes.
- Heat some oil/fat and fry the bacon on it, then add to it the onion. Once the onion got a nice golden colour, add to the pot the peppers as well and sprinkle it with some salt.
- Keep stirring until the peppers release enough juice (so they don’t burn), then add the garlic, the chopped tomatoes, the sausage slices and the paprika.
- Cook it on medium fire for 10-15 minutes until the peppers are not crunchy anymore (but shouldn’t become mashy!).
- In a separate bowl, slightly beat the eggs, then pour it onto the stew without stirring (the egg whites will cook separately from the yolks, and the dish will look more appealing).
- Once the egg is cooked (takes a couple of minutes), stir the stew, taste it and add some salt if needed.
As you see, no advanced cooking skill is needed to prepare lecsó. But just to be sure it’ll be authentically Hungarian, let me give you a few insider tips and notes. If you don’t mind hot food, feel free to use a spicy sausage which adds an extra flavour to the dish. When lecsó should be cooked? The best time is from August onwards, when the white peppers start to turn orange; that’s when they have the richest flavour. What happens if you don’t like peppers – or you are allergic to them? Well, it doesn’t mean you have to live without lecsó, you can easily substitute the peppers with zucchini or pattypan squash, it will taste the same delicious! And the most important thing: how to eat lecsó; on it’s own, with pasta or…? Undoubtedly, lecsó tastes the best when accompanied by some fresh bread.
Wish to try out lecsó in a very unique way? Then come to one of our special open-air dinners where we prepare dishes in the most ancient Hungarian way of cooking, in a bogrács.