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Hungarian recipe book

by Orsolya Szabó

Pages 2 and 3 of 54

The history of lecsó

The Hungarian counterpart of the French dish ratatouille, began in America with Spanish mediation, and not surprisingly, Turkish-Serbian influence. However, we can also say that while keeping these international origins in mind, lecsó is a very Hungarian dish, as it is not similar to any other nation’s paprika-tomato dish, neither in its garnishing nor its preparation.

Interesting facts:
The first peppers were brought home to Europe by the Columbus’s doctor, and then, as a result of a later expedition, tomatoes also made their way to the old continent. However, for a long time, Europeans failed to use the amazing new vegetable, as surprisingly it was believed to be poisonous for an incredibly long time.

To Hungary, the tomato – and with it a dish similar to today’s Hungarian lecsó – arrived across the Balkans during the Turkish occupation. Although the Turkish course was suspiciously similar, the traditional Hungarian lecsó only appeared much later, so we probably didn’t get the idea of the dish from the Turks.

In its present form, the food first appeared around the 1870s, and was prepared on an open fire by Bulgarian gardeners who settled down in the country. In 1902, a magazine first published a recipe for lecsó, although at that time it was still called differently.

Today, we consider ‘letcho’ to be one of the cornerstones of Hungarian cuisine, and just as the other main dishes of the country, there are just as many recipes of it as many houses from lecsó with rice, lecsó with eggs, and lecsó with sausages.