If you have been reading this blog at all, you will have caught on to the fact that I am one quarter hungarian… do I speak the language? No. Hell, I haven’t even been to Hungary before (fo shame, I know). BUT, one crucial aspect of hungarian culture was transmitted to my generation, and that is hungarian cooking.
The big debate in the family? Which is your favorite “granny” recipe?? Each of us has a signature dish, the irreplaceable, unbeatable favorite of a laundry list of hungarian dishes that my grandmother used to prepare for us. The icing on the cake (so to speak) was that each year on our birthday, we got to choose that one special dish.
I must say though, there is one particularly popular dish in the family, and that is stuffed paprika (or stuffed green peppers). Though it’s never particularly been my favorite, I do love it for its warm spice, and on a Sunday winter evening, it really hits the home-cooking sweet spot! So last weekend, at the occasion of the Hungarian specialist in the family coming to visit, I got my little training on how to make stuffed paprika….. and here’s the result!
So lets walk through this beauty:
Stuffed Paprika (for 8-10 people)
– 12 green bell peppers
– 700g ground beef
– 700g ground pork
– 5 strips of smoked ham or bacon (minced)
– 1 cup of white rice (dry), + 50g rice per person
– 3 white onions (chopped and divided)
– 9 whole tomatoes
– 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
– 1 egg
– Tomato paste
– Paprika powder (by the bucket load)
– salt and pepper to taste
– Paprika paste and sour cream (for garnish)
1. For starters, cut off the tops of the green peppers and clean out the insides.
2. Cook the rice for the stuffing (one cup dry)
3. In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, mix ground beef and pork, smoked ham or bacon, half the onions, and about 1 tablespoon of paprika powder.
4. On the stove in a small stock pot, bring water to a boil and drop the fresh tomatoes in for about 15 seconds. Retrieve with a slotted spoon and peel off the skins.
5. In the meantime, you can also start frying up the remaining onions, just until translucent, and keeping the heat on medium to preventing them from getting burnt. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of paprika powder, or to taste. (don’t be scared, there’s no such thing as too much paprika..!) cooking gently. Be sure not to burn the paprika as this will give the dish an unpleasant bitter taste. Then add 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste.
6. Add boiled and peeled tomatoes as well as the canned whole peeled tomatoes into the pan with the onions.
7. When the rice is done cooking, mix in as much as desired into the meat mixture.
8. Once the rice in the mixture has cooled, add the egg and mix everything together.
9. Take each of the peppers and stuff it entirely with the meat mixture.
10. In a large dutch oven (cast iron is the best), place the stuffed peppers on their sides and pour the tomato mixture over the peppers. The sauce should come up half way up the peppers.
11. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peppers are soft and the meat is cooked, turning the peppers onto their other side about half way through. Throughout the cooking, keep spooning the pool of tomato sauce over the peppers.
12. In the meantime, cook the rice so that it is ready to serve with the stuffed paprikas.
Aaaand that’s it! Serve one pepper per person with a scoop of rice and pour tomato sauce all over. Add a spoonful of sour cream and a dollop of sweet or spicy paprika paste and it just sends you to seventh heaven.
élvez! (that means enjoy – i think :p)