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.


Peeling Tomatoes
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 the tomatoes.

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.

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