Ukrainian bell pepper lecho, or the tried and true
This tangy and rich-tasting Ukrainian stew of bell peppers in tomato sauce is a healthy, easy vegan staple that can be pulled together quickly from fresh or canned tomatoes.
Author Ksenia Prints
9bell peppers of all colours - greenyellow, orange and red will all do for a delicious mix
6-9 tomatoes - if your tomatoes are beautifulplump and juicy, go with all 9. But if what you have is a mix of watery winter tomatoes, then use six (canned tomatoes will do as well) and add a ½ cup of tomato paste to the pan once the tomatoes have reduced a little.
1teaspoonof chilli flakesoptional OR 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2Tbsof sugaror omit to taste. I always add sugar to my tomato sauces, but if you're watching refined sugars, omitting this won't hurt
2 ½Tbsvegetable oil
1-2teaspoonof saltor more, to taste
Prepare two dishes: a deep pan for the tomato sauce, and a large, heavy-bottomed pot for the peppers.
Cut peppers into eights, or even quarters, depending on their size. You want your pieces to have texture and be noticeable, rather than breaking apart into a saucy mush. Add ½ a teaspoon of oil to the bottom of your large pot. Add peppers and cover the pot. On medium-high heat, sauté your peppers until they look seared and have softened, stirring them occasionally to ensure all sides come in contact with the heat, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop your onions and tomatoes. You want a chunky sauce, so don't worry about a getting a fine mince. Preheat a large pan to medium heat and add 2 Tbs of vegetable oil. Add onions and let cook for 10 minutes, until their colour changes. Add chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned), and let reduce on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. If using, add tomato paste. Let sauce cook for another 5-10, until it has thickened. Add all spices and taste, correcting flavours if needed.
Add sauce into the same large pot where your peppers have cooked. Stir well to combine, ensuring all peppers are coated. Cover the pot and let cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes, testing the peppers for your desired level of doneness (my mother prefers them with a bit of a bite to them, and only cooks them for another five; I like my vegetables soft, and go for the whole 15).
Serve as is, with good bread, or on top of whole-grain rice. Eat cold, in room temperature, or warm.
Ukrainian bell pepper lecho, or the tried and true https://immigrantstable.com/ukrainian-bell-pepper-lecho/ June 2, 2014