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Hungarian Pepper Stew with Tomatoes and Sausage (Lecsó)

4 to 6 Servings

50 minutes

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We tasted many versions of lecsó—a rustic, hearty pepper stew—throughout Hungary. Our recipe is a blend of those taught to us by cookbook author Zsófia Mautner and Tibor Rosenstein, owner and chef of Restaurant Rosenstein in Budapest. Rosenstein’s version incorporates sausage, adding depth and heft to the vegetables. To emulate robustly smoky and savory Hungarian sausage, we call on two grocery store staples: bacon for rich smokiness and kielbasa for texture and spice. Sweet and subtly hot, Hungarian wax peppers are the traditional go-to, though hard to find in the U.S. In their place, we opted for an easier-to-source blend of yellow bell peppers and mildly spicy banana, cubanelle or Anaheim peppers. Like other classic Hungarian dishes, such as paprikash, lecsó is seasoned with a healthy dose of paprika. Its earthy-sweet notes complement both the peppers and sausage, while giving the stew an especially luscious consistency. We love serving this with crusty bread, but it also is delicious spooned over rice, mashed potatoes or nokedli, Spätzle-like Hungarian dumplings.

4 to 6



Don’t add the tomatoes until the end of cooking. Their freshness and bright acidity balance the richness of the stew.

50 minutes


  • 8
    ounces kielbasa or other smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch half-moons
  • 1
    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil


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Cathy B.
March 21, 2023
One of the best things I've ever eaten
Just do it. If you're buying grocery store kielbasa you won't have to worry (because it's all smoked) but on the off chance you're going to a polish deli be sure you don't try to make this with fresh (unsmoked) kielbasa!
Michael Y.
February 18, 2023
A hearty dinner
This was delicious! Between this and the chicken paprikash, I think I'd like another Hungarian dinner recipe from Milk Street. Here's a couple of modifications I made: 1) I used the whole 1lb of smoked kielbasa. Note sure why the recipe only calls for 8oz; 2) I went with 1/4 lb of bacon and poured off most of the fat after cooking the bacon; 3) I upped the sweet paprika a good amount in the last step. I probably added another full tablespoon to make it 2. I served this over rice, which worked fine. Definitely give this a try.
Melanie S.
January 4, 2023
Yes, Use More Paprika!
We made this for dinner tonight. We made a few alterations. We use a full Kielbasa, which was about 13 oz. To support that 1.5 lbs of Roma tomatoes and 8 oz of mini white mushrooms. Finally, upped the sweet paprika to a heaping 2 Tablespoons of sweet paprika. We loved the dish and will make it again just the same way!
Dirk R.
January 30, 2023
Tasty - More Paprika
Very easy to make! I wasn’t sure about how much heat would come through. While we bought banana peppers, they seem very mild. I might toss a little cayenne in next time or up the Hot Paprika. Probably up the paprika over all (or ours was old). I used chicken/apple sausage that we keep on hand so added a tsp of smoke paprika, too. That seemed to work nicely. Amazingly low-cal with chicken sausage, by the way.
Yann R.
December 20, 2022
Should it be 4 TABLEspooons?
Should the ingredient list show 4 tablespoons of sweet paprika instead of 4 teaspoons? The whole discussion of the role of paprika in this recipe would make more sense with the larger amount...