Lecsó is a ridiculously simple mix of peppers, tomatoes and onions that are left to create their own magic together with a little help from salt, pepper and, of course, paprika. Essentially a Hungarian ratatouille, this highly versatile lecsó can be spruced up with sausage or eggs, and is used as a base for many other dishes.
The three in the middle are the heroes, especially the lecsópaprika. Make sure to use the freshest and tastiest ingredients that you can get your hands on for such a simple recipe. A local farmers market will be the perfect place to stock up.
Firstly dice the onions and the tomatoes. There’s no need to be too elegant, they will all cook down into a nice stew in the end. For the peppers, I find it’s easiest to push down on the stalk at the top and break it off along with the seeds. In this case, you can then cut it into rings as shown.
Firstly add the onions to the oil and saute them until they get a little translucent. In general I find the longer the better with onions, as they just seem to give up more and more flavour. Then add the peppers and let them soften for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes.
Along with the tomatoes, add your seasonings to taste. Bear in mind if it will end up being the base of another dish that you may want to under-season at this point. Given everything a good mix and let it simmer for 15 minutes. If you want it very thin, leave a lid on for the entire time. For a thicker sauce, remove the lid before the end.
Modification option number 1 is to add some sausage for kolbászos lecsó. This particular one is homemade csabai kolbász, slightly spicy, and makes a great addition in case the standard lecsó is looking a little too vegan! Add it a few minutes before the end of cooking.
The second optional modification is to whisk up a couple of eggs and pour them in once the cooking is finished. I leave them to sit for a little while to let the egg firm up slightly, before giving it a stir, and there you have tojásos lecsó. If you’re feeling particularly fancy you can always add sausage too. Told you it was verstatile!
But, back to basics, here’s the orginal version – quick, simple, cheap, vegan and tasty! Ready to tuck in with a fresh kifli to soak up all the sauce. What modifications do you make to a standard lecsó recipe?
Super Versatile Lecsó
- 100 g Sausage / Kolbász
- 2 Eggs / Tojás
- Roughly dice the onion and tomatoes, and cut the peppers into rings.
- Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and saute the onion over a medium heat until it begins to get translucent.
- Add the peppers and continue cooking until they soften, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and paprika, along with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a good stir!
- Cook on a low simmer with the lid on for around 15 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.
- To adjust the thickness, remove the lid for the last 5 to 10 minutes.
- For a meaty version, chop the sausage into cubes and add for the last 10 minutes
- For tojásos lecsó, mix two eggs in a bowl and add to the pot in the final minutes. Let it sit briefly to firm up, before stirring through.