Letcho or Lecso

lecso1-1-of-1

Lecsó (or letcho) is an important part of Hungarian cuisine. Summer in the village smells of people making letcho, as the gardens overflow with ripe tomatoes and peppers. Letcho is the basis for plenty of Hungarian meals, including goulash, paprikash, or porkolt. This time of year, people are starting to open the jars of letcho they put up during the summer to have a little taste of sunshine when the days are short. 

As with most of the basic dishes from this part of the world, there are many variations in how to prepare letcho. Letcho can be a main dish when made more substantial with rice, sausage, eggs, bacon, tarhonya (Israeli/large grain couscous) etc. Depending on the peppers you use, letcho can be hot or mild. The letcho I mention here is my very old recipe. I used to make it for Katy when we were living in Banja Luka (in Bosnia) and it is one of the first meals I learned to prepare for myself  when I was 10.

Letcho or Lecso
Serves 2
Lecsó (or letcho) is an important part of Hungarian cuisine. Summer in the village smells of people making letcho, as the gardens overflow with ripe tomatoes and peppers. Letcho is the basis for plenty of Hungarian meals, including goulash, paprikash, or porkolt.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tbs oil
  2. 1 big onion
  3. 4 Hungarian or red bell peppers
  4. 4 medium tomatoes
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp pepper
  7. 1/2 tbs marjoram – optional
  8. 1 Tbs paprika
  9. 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Chop the onions and saute over low heat in a large pan with about a Tbs of oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cut the peppers into rings and add them to the pot when onions are starting to get brown.
  3. Roughly chop the tomatoes.
  4. Once the peppers are soft, add the marjoram and paprika. Stir and add the chopped tomatoes. Lower the heat and cook until tomatoes begin to break down.
  5. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add to the pan, stirring as you pour them in. Cook another 5 min.
  6. Serve with fresh bread. Best with a country loaf, ciabatta, or similar bread that can soak up the juices.
Notes
  1. This is a recipe for 2. Simply, because I used to make this for 2. You can make it bigger by just multyplying the ingredients.
Emperors Crumbs https://emperorscrumbs.com/
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7 Responses

  1. Even if this meal does not seem very attractive (does not seem very attractive at all, in fact), it can be really good. In my version, I always put a homemade sausage into it. And I prefer to eat it with fresh bread, while my (french) boyfriend loves it with cooked potatoes.
    Yesterday I did the chicken paprikas with halusky (inspired by one of your old posts), it had a lot of success with my french friends.

  2. Jó reggelt!

    I grew up eating lecsó on everything (it’s Hungarian salsa!) I’m a first-generation Hungarian-American, and I still cook a lot of Hungarian food. My husband is of Hungarian descent, too.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy San Francisco – don’t forget to bring some tomato and pepper seeds with you. I have to have friends in Slovakia send me some for a real authentic taste.

  3. katka: there is plenty of variations of leco. plain, sausage, with rice etc. i think this version is a good introduction to leco. i tried to make the best photo i could… i was doing everything but inspiration did not come. but maybe it deserves a better photo. i guess i will make leco for dinner one of these weekends :).

  4. Gramma Greenjeans: i am a passionate gardener so i will bring some seeds. actually i have donated some to NPR’s – Green of Dean. I wonder if he liked them. the problem with our property in bay area is that it has a tiny land. it is hard to go from 0.6 acre to almost nothing. (maybe a pot of heirloom tomatoes). i have been few times in san francisco and the bay area. i like it a lot so i hope it will help me to recover from being home sick. but i will be, because i love it here. we plan more competitions where you will be able to win slovak/hungarian products so read us 🙂

  5. Valerian –
    As you know proper lecso does not need eggs … critical ingredient is Hungarian peppers, pale and with nil sweetness … not globally available, though my stepdad cultivates a huge crop in his northen UK greenhouse, and where I live near London many asian foodstores stock it (no longer do I pack every free square inch of my luggage on my way home with paprika !).
    Yes my favourite is lecso with eggs, but it needs kolbász (kabanosi) too !
    P.S. why no e-mail link to the creators of this site … I’m a fan and would love to chat with you ???
    (lauraeva@live.com)

    1. yes it says so. it is one of the many variations. i have sent you email, I hope you got it :). join us on twitter or Facebook, we can chat about food day and night. it is my favorite topic 🙂

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