While on sabbatical in Rehovot, Israel in 1996-1997, we met with old friends (who had
studied and lived in Urbana, IL) Alice
and Yitzhak Zilcha at Judith's Restaurant in Gan ha-Ir, Tel Aviv. Judith's was a Hungarian, vegetarian
restaurant known for its breathtaking desserts and creative entrées. We soon became
regular customers there, and many times enjoyed Lecsó, pronounced "letcho," a Hungarian pepper stew.
Judith kindly shared her recipe with us, and I've made some changes on my own. I serve
Lecsó over rice. It goes particularly well with Golden Corn Bread.
The method below for peeling tomatoes is one I use for many recipes, whenever I
need peeled, fresh, raw tomatoes. It saves cleanup rather than using an extra pot
for parboiling the tomatoes.
- 3 large, very ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced (see below)
- 2 T. canola or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1 pound medium to hot Italian or Mexican peppers, thinly sliced
- 1/2 T. sugar
- 1/2 T. salt
- 1 T. paprika
To peel ripe tomatoes, place them in a brown paper bag, resting in the kitchen sink. Bring a pot
of water to a boil, pour into the bag of tomatoes, and close the top of the bag. By the time the
water is cool enough to touch, the skin on the tomatoes will be loose enough to gently press away from
Preparing the Lecsó
Heat the oil. Add the sliced onion, and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices,
and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and paprika. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Adjust the salt and sugar to taste.
Serve over rice.