Hey friends! I don’t know about you guys, but fall has definitely arrived in Vienna. The first official day of autumn is tomorrow and to celebrate I made my first stew of the season, letcho! It’s the perfect dish to transition into fall because it’s loaded with summer vegetables that might still be lingering around. If you’ve never heard of letcho, you should really give this a try. It’s incredibly easy to make and packs a punch of flavor.
Traditional Hungarian letcho is a thick vegetable ragout consisting of bell peppers (lots and lots of them!), onion, tomato and paprika. You can have a huge bowl on it’s own like a thick soup, or serve it up with some potatoes or grain of choice (like quinoa, rice, or even cauli rice). The first time I tried letcho was probably 5 years ago and I did not find it to be anything special. I think my husband and I were in a pinch for dinner one night so we bought a frozen package of letcho from the store and reheated it over the stove at home. While this was a healthy and convenient quick dinner fix, it wasn’t all that flavorful. At least it didn’t leave me wanting more.
Then, not long ago my mother-in-law made homemade letcho for lunch one day and my whole perspective changed! It was so good. She loaded it up with spices, all kinds of veggies, and even cooked and peeled fresh tomatoes for the batch. She also added thinly sliced sausages (turkey frankfurter, to be exact), and they were like little nuggets of gold hiding in tomatoe-y goodness. My mind was changed. Letcho can be awesome! You just have to give it a little love.
This recipe is as close as I could get to my mother-in-law’s version. It veers from traditional recipes because of the mushrooms and zucchini, and for convenience I used canned diced tomatoes. You can leave out the sausage and bump up the mushrooms for a vegan version, or load it up with your favorite sausage for a heartier meal. If you’re doing Whole30, just make sure your sausage is compliant and try to use one that’s thinner in size. If you can only get thick compliant sausage, just chop it into smaller, bite-size pieces to keep the consistency right. The whole recipe is very flexible, so feel free to play around the proportions, and don’t be afraid if you have a little more or less of an ingredient. Just throw it in!
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