Sausage Leczo / Lecso (Hungarian Vegetable Stew) – only 5 ingredients and a great use for your summer vegetables! Full of tomatoes, green peppers and onion!
My dad’s dad (my papa) was from Hungary and we grew up eating a delicious Hungarian stew called lecsó (lay-cho).
When I did research on the history of this traditional vegetable stew, however, I found that other countries have their own version. And that version is often spelled leczó.
This probably isn’t a big deal. It probably isn’t any kind of deal at all.
I had several moments of confusion though, wondering if I had been spelling it wrong for 30 years. For that reason alone, I will reference both spellings in this post.
Digging this recipe out of the family coffers was more difficult than I expected it to be. Several phone calls and emails to my dad, asking for the recipe, amounted to no response or a half response.
I finally had to reach out to my uncle and my dad’s cousin. And that’s when I realized that my dad’s half response was actually the recipe.
Lecsó / leczó is so easy to make that for over a year I thought he was trying to keep the recipe from me. In reality, I just didn’t understand the recipe is very simple.
Sausage Leczó / Lecsó (Hungarian Vegetable Stew)
Leczó /lecsó is a vegetable stew that is part of traditional Hungarian and European cuisine.
My family always adds sausage to it but if you are looking for a vegetarian soup and leave it out, you will still have a delicious soup.
To make this stew, put your vegetables in a big pot and let them cook down until the heat and steam creates a juicy broth right from the veggies.
My dad kept telling me, “Jen, get some tomatoes and green peppers and the biggest onion you can find and put it all in a pot.” If you heard that, you would probably think something was missing too.
After my other family members reiterated the simple recipe, I set out to find the best ratio of vegetables.
If you are lucky enough to have a vegetable garden or a nearby awesome farmer’s market, save some veggies to make this soup. If not… buy some at the store and make this soup.
Basically, just make this soup. You will be glad you did!
The recipe below is my family’s recipe: if you think I made it wrong, included or omitted an ingredient, remember, this is how my family makes lecsó. Your family may make it differently, and that’s great – that’s the beauty of food.
Sausage Lecso Ingredients
Tomatoes: Ripe, juicy tomatoes are cut into wedges to form the flavorful tomato base of the dish. They add a natural sweetness and a delightful texture to the stew, providing the foundation for this hearty Hungarian dish.
Green Peppers: Green peppers, also known as bell peppers, are a vital component of Lecsó. They bring a vibrant green color and a slightly sweet, crisp flavor to the stew.
Sliced into rings or strips, they contribute to the dish’s distinctive taste and appealing visual appeal.
Yellow Onion: A large yellow onion, cut into wedges, is an essential aromatic component in Lecsó. It’s sautéed to release its natural sweetness and create a savory base for the stew.
The onion complements the flavors of the tomatoes and peppers, adding depth and richness to the dish.
Smoked Hungarian Sausage: Smoked Hungarian sausage is a flavorful protein source in Lecsó. It’s typically cut into rounds or slices, adding a smoky and savory element to the stew.
The sausage infuses the dish with a unique taste characteristic of Hungarian cuisine.
Paprika (to taste): Paprika is a fundamental spice in Hungarian cooking, and in Lecsó, it’s used to provide a distinct, earthy flavor and a warm, reddish hue.
The quantity of paprika added can vary based on personal preference, but it’s an essential seasoning in this dish.
What meat can I use if I can’t find Hungarian sausage?
Smoked Hungarian sausage, also known as “kolbász” in Hungarian, is a type of sausage that’s an integral part of Hungarian cuisine.
It’s characterized by its robust flavor, smokiness, and a blend of spices, with paprika being a prominent ingredient.
The sausage is typically made from pork, but variations can include beef, lamb, or a mixture of meats.
The meat is seasoned with garlic, salt, and various spices, often featuring Hungarian paprika, contributing to its distinctive taste.
If you can’t find smoked Hungarian sausage, you can substitute it with other smoked or flavorful sausages available in your region.
Here are some alternatives:
- Kielbasa: This Polish sausage is similar to Hungarian kolbász in smokiness and flavor. It’s widely available and is a good substitute for smoked Hungarian sausage.
- Chorizo: You can choose Spanish or Mexican chorizo depending on your taste preferences. Spanish chorizo is a cured sausage with a smoky flavor, while Mexican chorizo is a soft, crumbly sausage that adds a spicy kick to the dish.
- Andouille: This smoked sausage hails from Louisiana and is known for its bold, smoky flavor. It can be a suitable substitute if you enjoy a bit of heat in your dishes.
- Italian Sausage: Choose sweet Italian sausage for a milder option or hot Italian sausage for a spicier kick. Italian sausage can provide a distinct flavor to your Lecsó.
- Bratwurst: German bratwurst sausages are widely available and come in various flavors. They may not have the same smoky or paprika-infused profile as Hungarian sausage, but they can still add a delicious element to the dish.
The key is to select a sausage that aligns with your personal taste and the flavor profile you desire for your Lecsó.
While the specific taste may vary with these alternatives, you’ll still be able to enjoy a flavorful and satisfying dish.
- 2 pounds tomato
- 2 pounds green pepper
- 1 large yellow onion
- 32 ounces smoked Hungarian sausage, cut into ½ inch rounds
- paprika to taste
- Cut your vegetables. The tomatoes should be cut into wedges, the green peppers should be cut into strips with seeds discarded, and the onion should be cut into 6-8 wedges (depending on how large your onion is.)
- Put the tomatoes, green pepper and onion into a large soup pot. Set heat to medium and cover the pot. Stir occasionally. After 30 minutes, add the sausage.
- Cook for at least 30 more minutes. Soup is done when the vegetables are tender and a vegetable broth has developed.
- Add paprika to taste. We add tablespoons; you should adjust to your personal palette.
If you can't find Hungarian sausage, substitute with Polish sausage.
Optional: Fry sausage rounds before adding to soup pot.
The recipe below is my family's recipe: if you think I made it wrong, included or omitted an ingredient, remember, this is how my family makes lecsó. Your family may make it differently, and that's great - that's the beauty of food.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 1369mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 17g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not be correct.