My middle name is “Alternative”, no matter if we’re talking about graphics, music or “simple” ideas. But the kitchen is not different as well. Generally I don’t read recipes, I invent them or alternate famous ones, adept to my taste or to the ingredients I have at that particular moment. Cooking it’s definitively an art and I enjoy to mix up spices, flavors, tastes, aromas and colors. A delicious meal demands the same creativity as a good song or a fascinating painting.
Although the traditional Hungarian Lecsó features green and/or red peppers and tomato, I made my own Lecsó this time adding also green beans, carrots and rice – obtaining also the red/white/green colors of the Hungarian flag. But same easily this could be an Italian or Mexican rhapsody as well!!
The Hungarian Rhapsodies (Magyar rapszódiák), S.244, R106, is a set of 19 piano pieces based on Hungarian folk themes, composed by Franz Liszt during 1846-1853, and later in 1882 and 1885. Liszt also arranged versions for orchestra, piano duet and piano trio.
Some are better known than others, with Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 being particularly famous.
Lecsó is an Hungarian thick vegetable ragout or stew which features green and/or red peppers and tomato, onion, lard, salt, sugar and ground sweet and/or hot paprika as a base recipe. The onions and peppers are usually sauteed in lard, bacon fat or sunflower oil, while garlic is also a traditional ingredient. Most recipes recommend the mildest variant of Hungarian wax pepper, which are in season August–October which is also when field tomatoes are at their best. Other recipes suggest using both bell pepper and banana pepper as alternatives.
This is also a traditional food in Czech, Slovak and Croatian cuisine and is also very common in Poland, Austria, and Israel.
We can chose between a vegetarian version of this food or adding also meet. Some recipes are with sausage (called “kolbász” such as lecsókolbász, made specifically for this purpose, or Debrecener sausage) bacon or smoked pork chops, liver and sliced hot dog sausages. Some are decorated with slices of hard-boiled egg or thickened with beaten eggs.
You can – and must! – use your imagination and adapt the traditional recipe to your own taste and season it to the vegetables you can get or you like. “Ahány ház, annyi szokás.” – each family with it’s own recipe. Actually, each time I adapt my recipe to the vegetables and ingredients I have and always I try to be creative. My version of lecsó this time was made with pork meat, can use pork shoulder, butt or picnic, but as I said, can make it also strictly vegetarian.
800 gr meat
500 gr green beans
500 gr carrots
500 gr green and red peppers
250 gr sliced tomatoes
150-200 gr rice
Herbs and spices (oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, marjoram, dill, salt, pepper, chilli, etc)
It’s actually a quite simple recipe, easy to make, but very delicious.
We’re starting with fry the onion slices in some Olive oil and adding to it the peppers. In another vessel we also gonna fry some onion slices and adding to this the chopped meat. I do this on small heat and mixing carefully throughout with a wooden spoon. After 30-40 minutes to the pepper I add 350-500 ml water and when it’s start to boil I add the green beans and the carrot. To the meat I add some spices, herbs and the chopped garlic. In another vessel I boil the rice after I keep the rice in cold water for at least one hour.
When the rice is almost ready, I mix it up with the vegetables then I also add the meat and it’s consistent sauce to it.
The tomatoes come last because, if added at the beginning, they would soak the onions and the peppers.