LECSO (Hungarian Ratatouille)

fb3This recipe comes from Norbert Palinkas, a Hungarian and ski friend who prepared it during the recent meet of the Ski Club of International Journalists (see post: Swiss Slopes Welcome Journalists). He says this is the Hungarian version of a Balkan favorite, Dzsuvecs.   Delicious.  I had to try it.  I could not find all the ingredients specified here in France and made substitutions as indicated.

200 grams (a bit less than 1/2 pound) of “special kind of bacon, only salted and smoked.” I used Pancetta, but it did not provide enough fat, so I added French “poitrine,”  similar to American bacon.  Still not enough fat, so I added a bit of olive oil,

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 – 4 onions cut into wide strips

1 tablespoon paprika

1 kg. (2.2 lbs.) sweet peppers (red, green and yellow if available)

1 cup sweet white wine

300 – 400 grams (a bit more than 1/2 pound — or to taste) smoked pepper sausage (Norbert suggested using a “hot” sausage.I used chorizo — Spanish, not Hungarian — but perfect

1 kg. (2.2 lbs.) juicy fresh tomatoes (since fresh tromatoes are tasteless at this time of year, I used two 16-oz. cans of Italian tomatoes

Chopped fresh rosemarypeppers

Saute the bacon on very low heat in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven.  When fat has accumulated, add cumin seeds.  When they pop, add onion..  Braise on low heat.  When the onion is soft and creamy, add the tablespoon of paprika.  Cook together for about  30 seconds, then add the wine. Add peppers, increase heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. When peppers soften, add the sausage and tomatoes. Salt to taste and sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary.

I served this to six with grilled lamb on Easter Saturday.  My guests were happy, and I had enough leftover to freeze.

 

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