Despite the name, Bulgarian lecho is a traditional Hungarian dish. Such preparation for the winter preserves the wonderful taste and aroma of fresh bell pepper. It is this recipe that is classic. It consists of just a few ingredients. Besides tomatoes and bell peppers, there are no more vegetables in it. In addition, some spices are also added to lecho.
Bulgarian lecho can be added to a stew, used as an addition to a main course, or eaten as a separate dish. Below you will see a traditional and unconventional Bulgarian lecho recipe.
Traditional Bulgarian lecho
It is very important to pay attention to the quality of the vegetables themselves. It depends on them how delicious the salad will turn out. Peppers for harvesting should not overripe. We choose only ripe and juicy fruits. The color of the pepper can be absolutely any. But most often it is the red varieties that are chosen. Tomatoes, on the other hand, may be slightly overripe, but they should not have rot. Choose soft, bright red fruits.
To prepare a classic Hungarian lecho you will need:
- ripe soft tomatoes - three kilograms;
- bell pepper - two kilograms;
- salt - about 40 grams;
- granulated sugar - about 70 grams;
- allspice peas - 5 pieces;
- cloves - 4 pieces;
- black peppercorns - 5 pieces;
- 6% apple cider vinegar - 1.5 tablespoons.
Now you can start the cooking process. To do this, you need to peel and cut the vegetables. My bell peppers, cut in half, remove all seeds and cut out the stalks. Next, the fruits are cut lengthwise into large slices. The tomatoes should also be washed, the stalks and, if desired, the skin removed. But you can grind the tomatoes right away with a food processor or meat grinder. The resulting tomato mass is poured into a large container and put on fire. After the tomato puree has boiled, it is boiled for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and removing the foam with a slotted spoon. Now is the time to throw the chopped peppers into the mass. The mixture is brought to a boil again.
Attention! After a few minutes, the bell pepper will begin to shrink.
Then add all the spices to the dish and simmer over low heat for another 15 minutes. During this time, the pepper should become soft. We check the readiness with a fork. A few minutes until fully cooked, pour apple cider vinegar into the container.
Important! Before rolling up the salad, try it with salt and pepper. If something is missing, you can add until the cooking process is over.
Next, the salad is poured into prepared sterilized jars and rolled up. For the first day, the workpiece should be turned upside down and wrapped in a blanket. After complete cooling, the containers are moved to the cellar or any cool room. The Hungarians themselves eat lecho as an independent dish. Chicken eggs or smoked meats can be added to it. In our country, they eat such a salad as an appetizer or addition to side dishes.
An unconventional recipe for lecho in Bulgarian
The Russians tried to create their own version of lecho, adding only a few new ingredients to it. So, the Russian version of lecho is prepared from the following products:
- fresh meaty tomatoes - one kilogram;
- ripe bell pepper of any color - two kilograms;
- a bunch of cilantro and dill;
- garlic - 8 to 10 teeth;
- refined vegetable oil - one glass;
- ground black pepper - one teaspoon;
- onions (medium size) - 4 pieces;
- granulated sugar - one glass;
- ground dry paprika - one teaspoon;
- table vinegar - one teaspoon;
- salt (to taste).
We start preparing the workpiece by cutting vegetables. Peel and cut the pepper, as in the previous recipe. Then we peel and cut the onion into half rings. Wash fresh tomatoes and cut into large pieces. Now we put a large frying pan on the fire and add the vegetables one by one. The onion is thrown into the pan first, it must be brought to a transparent state. After that, add the chopped tomatoes and simmer over low heat in their own juice for 20 minutes.
After that, the prepared pepper is thrown into the pan and the lecho continues to cook for another 5 minutes. After this time, it is necessary to remove the lid from the pan and then simmer the salad for another 10 minutes. All this time, the workpiece should be stirred so that it does not stick to the bottom.
Now it's time to add finely chopped garlic, apple cider vinegar, and sugar to the dish. Cook for another 20 minutes. Chopped greens are added last. With it, the lecho should boil for a few more minutes and can be turned off. Now the workpiece can be poured into containers and rolled up.
Attention! You need to store the salad in the same way as the classic lecho.
Some secrets of making lecho
Whatever recipe for lecho you use, the following tips will definitely come in handy:
- It is better to roll salads in small jars of 0.5 or 1 liter.
- The chopped vegetables should be about the same size. Such a salad will look much more attractive and appetizing.
- If the salad recipe contains vinegar, then you need to use only enamel dishes. Also, it should not have any cracks or other flaws.
Now you know for sure that Bulgarian lecho for the winter is a Hungarian dish with a very simple composition and a quick preparation process. Such a preparation preserves not only the aroma of fresh vegetables, but also the taste, as well as some vitamins.