Saturday, August 7, 2010

Austrian Recipe Blog and Letscho

Just added a new entry to the "Blogs I Like" column over to the right: Austrian Recipes.

Elder Daughter spent July in Vienna taking 6 credits of German, so I took advantage of it to visit Vienna for the first time since I was about her age. (Vienna is wunderschoen--crazy beautiful--by the way.)

I ate my way across Vienna for 6 days and never had a soy problem once. Probably, like Germany, they mostly use sunflower oil the way the U.S. mostly uses soy oil. I read an article a couple of weeks ago that approximately 20% of all calories in the American diet comes from soy oil . . . scary. . . but I digress . . . .

The Austrian Recipes blog is very nice, and I plan to try some of her recipes, but there is one recipe I like that I didn't find: Letscho, also spelled Lecso. The original is from Hungary but it is now part of the Austrian repertoire. It is similar to the French ratatouille.

8-10 servings

3 slices thick-cut bacon
1 1/2 lbs green peppers (Hungarian peppers if you can find them, otherwise green Bell peppers)
1 lb ripe tomatoes
3/4 lb onions
1 clove garlic
2-3 Tbsp oil or bacon grease
2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika (don't use American paprika for this, the Hungarian is much better)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the bacon in 1/2-inch pieces and fry until it is just crisp.

2. Cut the peppers in 1/2-inch slices, discarding the ribs.

3. Blanch the tomatoes, then slip off their skins. Cut in quarters if they are small, or 6ths or 8ths if they are large. Strip out the seeds.

4. Cut the onions the long way in 1/2-inch or slightly narrower slices.

5. Peel and mince the garlic.

6. In oil or bacon fat, saute the onions until glossy. Add the garlic and slowly continue to saute until the onions are just beginning to turn color. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the paprika.
7. Add the peppers and tomatoes and stir in. Cover. Simmer about a half hour. Add the tomato paste and salt and pepper near the end. Sprinkle with the bacon pieces just before serving.

Serve with meat, roast chicken, fish steaks or by itself with a fried or poached egg on top. Or use as an omelet filling.

If you are using oil, use canola or another soy-free oil.