Pasta, Stews and Casseroles

Vegan Lescó (Hungarian Stew)


Lescó which is also spelled as lecho, letcho or letsho is often referred to as the “Hungarian Ratatouille”. It is basically stewed onions, tomato and peppers. It is a very hearty, rustic and peasant style dish. There are many variations of this dish. Traditionally it is cooked using bacon fat but I omitted it for a vegan version. Some variations include addition of sausage. This is a one pot stew which means minimum effort and maximum flavour. Mine isn’t traditional because I omitted the sausages and fat but it is a lovely take on it. I love the simplicity of this dish and it is very healthy as well. It is perfect for a rainy day! 🙂

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Ingredients: (Serves 4-5 people)

For the stew

  • Sunflower/ Olive oil- 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic- 3 cloves; finely chopped
  • White or Red onion- 4 (medium size)
  • Large ripe tomatoes- 3; preferably skin removed
  • Yellow bell pepper/ capsicum- 1
  • Long green pepper/ Banana pepper- 3 (mild)

(Note– In India, we use long green peppers for making stuffed pakora’s and bajji’s and it can be used. If you get Italian pepper/ Hungarian banana pepper, it is even better.) 

  • Sweet paprika- 1 teaspoon
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt- to taste

For garnish

  • Chopped parsley- for garnish (Optional)
  • Vegan low fat yogurt- to serve 
  • Baguette/ Crusty bread- to serve
Method:

Roughly cut the onions into thick slices (I quarter the onions and cut each quarter into 3). Sometimes I don’t remove the skin of the tomatoes but I advice you to remove it by putting it in hot water for a minute and then immediately rinsing under cold water (Unless you want to be fishing out the tomato skins in the end!). Roughly chop the tomatoes into big cubes. Remove the top of the yellow bell pepper and with a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Trim off any white membrane and cut it into long strips. Cut the long green pepper/ banana peppers into rounds. Remove  excess of seeds.

Heat oil in a large pot. Once the oil becomes hot, add the chopped garlic. Sauté for a minute and add the onions. Let it cook on low for 2 minutes or until the onions become white and translucent. 

Lesco part 1

Add the chopped peppers to the onions. Sauté (mix) it for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water, close it with a lid and allow it to cook for 5-6 minutes making sure you mix it once in a while.

lesco part 2

Now, sprinkle the paprika and give it a nice mix. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix for 1-2 minute. Pour in the remaining 1 and 1/2 cup water. Add the sugar and season it with salt. Cover it with a lid and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes (give it a mix once in a while). If the pot is becoming dry, add a dash of water. Remove the lid and let it simmer for another minute. 

lesco part 3

Remove from the heat. Transfer it into your serving bowl and serve it along with roughly torn bread. Garnish with cilantro leaves and top it with low fat vegan yogurt.

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Dip the bread in the sauce, with a fork place a few veges over it and top with a bit more yogurt. It is quite spicy so the yogurt cools it and cleanses your palate. 🙂 

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