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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Letcho

What-cho?
That is what many of you may be asking yourselves right now. No, auto-correct did not get to my blog and no, I have not recently imbibed. Letcho is simply a delicious dish of stewed peppers and tomatoes that my grandmother excelled at making and that I grew up with that I think is Hungarian in origin. My Grandmother has told me it was made to get rid of tomatoes and peppers that were going bad but there was no evidence of poor quality vegetables in the letcho when we got to it. My grandmother would parcel out containers to all her children every time she made it and we would literally fight at the fridge to get to it.  Then after we got our illicit spoonfuls we would hide it in the fridge in a safe place so we could have some more later but inevitably someone else searched and got to it first.
And all it is is basically peppers and tomatoes.
It's amazing how good a grandmother's love can make a dish.
Now, everything my grandmother made had tons of sugar in it. And I mean EVERYTHING. Hamburgers with sugar- you got it. Peas with sugar- yup. Chulent with sugar- oh yeah! There is literally nothing she did not put sugar in so her letcho was also on the sweet side. But many of my friends grew up with letcho that had no sugar so make it as you like with or without though I think it benefits from a little sugar to enhance the sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers. I also used to think letcho was a rice dish because I would always find little grains of rice in the dish but it really is primarily a vegetable dish with just a tiny bit of rice to thicken up the sauce. It makes a great side dish and goes great served over plain brown rice which is how I like to serve it. So find your secret refrigerator hiding space and Enjoy!

2 large onions, sliced
4 Tbl oil
1 large red pepper, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced (even if you don't like green peppers they are essential for letcho flavor)
1 orange pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
7 tomatoes (plum or on the vine, sliced gently-don't lose too much of the juice)
4 Tbl sugar
1/8 cup of rice
salt and pepper


In a large pan saute the onions in the oil for 2 minutes add all the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers start to wilt. Add all the tomatoes, mix, re- season with salt and pepper and cover for about 5 minutes to let the tomatoes start to release their juices. Add the sugar cover and let stew while mixing occasionally for about 25 minutes. There should be a nice amount of liquid in the pot. Add the rice, stir, check for seasoning and cook another 10 minutes covered until the rice is cooked.



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