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Mom’s Heartwarming Spin on Hungarian Lecso/Lecho/Leczo

The Perfect Comforting Stew for Cool Evenings From WikToria

Wiktoria Marroquin at Au Bon Climat Winery

As the cold raindrops gently tap on the window pane and a soft breeze whispers through the trees, there’s nothing quite like the comforting embrace of a warm bowl of Hungarian lecso. This cherished family recipe has been passed down through generations, and it holds a special place in our hearts. Today, I’m excited to share my family’s Polish spin on this classic Hungarian stew – a dish that my Mom used to lovingly prepare on cold rainy days, making it the best comforting meal ever. Let’s dive into the heartwarming world of our Hungarian lecso!

Ingredients:

  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 zucchinis 
  • vegetable broth
  • 1 big yellow onion
  • kielbasa (you can get a real deal one at Euro Market in Goleta, the best one is from Pulaski Meat)
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes 
  • salt 
  • pepper

Procedure:

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Best Served: The Next Day
Prepare the Ingredients:

Start by washing the red peppers and zucchini thoroughly. Slice the bell peppers into thin strips, and the zucchinis into half-moons. Set them aside.

Create the Flavorful Base:

In a large pot, add some olive oil and sauté the onion until it becomes translucent and slightly caramelized. This is the foundation of our stew, adding a hint of sweetness and depth of flavor. Take your time with this step to get it just right.

Add the Peppers and Zucchini:

Once the onion is ready, add the sliced red peppers to the pot. Let them cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Then, add the zucchini and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle.

Introduce the Kielbasa:

Now comes the star of our spin of lecso – the kielbasa! The most famous thing in Poland. My personal favorite is when my brother makes one from scratch but when you are an immigrant you deal with what you can find, right? Cut the kielbasa into bite-sized pieces and add them to the pot. Their smoky richness will infuse the stew with a delightful savory note.

Pour in the Crushed Tomatoes:

Open the 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and carefully pour its contents into the pot. The tangy sweetness of the tomatoes will complement the other ingredients, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

Season to Perfection:

Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the kielbasa can add some saltiness, so go easy on the salt at first, and you can always adjust later.

Simmer Slowly:

Now, it’s time to let the magic happen. Pour in the vegetable broth and 3 cups of water until all the ingredients are just covered. Bring the stew to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for at least an hour (I do 2-3 hours), stirring occasionally.

Patience Is Rewarded:

After the long, slow simmer, your Hungarian lecso will have transformed into a comforting stew with layers of rich flavors. But trust me, the patience is worth it! The next day, the flavors will have melded even further, creating a symphony of taste that will leave you wanting more.

Enjoy & Share the Love:

Serve the lecso in deep bowls and savor the heartwarming goodness with your loved ones. Don’t forget some crusty bread on the side to soak up the flavorful broth. Share stories, laughter, and the love that goes into making this treasured family recipe.

There’s something magical about the way a comforting stew can bring warmth to your soul, especially on cold evenings. Our family’s spin on Hungarian lecso has been a source of joy and comfort for generations, passed down from my Mom’s kitchen to ours (my American husband is addicted to this leczo). As you take your first spoonful of this heartwarming dish, you’ll feel the love and care that goes into each and every bowl. So, on those cool evenings when you crave a warm and comforting meal, give our Polish-Hungarian lecso a try. It’s not just a stew; it’s a taste of family tradition and the best kind of comfort food.