Hungarian stuffed peppers

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Stuffed pepper–paprika is as popular dish in the Hungarian cuisine as the stuffed cabbage.

We took over from the Turks but since centuries the recipe had been varied and became a classic dish. Today the usual procedure is: meat, ground beef or pork and beef (in Croatia and Slovenia) is mixed with rice, diced red onion, egg, salt, herbs and spices, like garlic, ground black pepper, ground paprika and parsley. However it is easy to make but extremely delicious. In Hungary the paprika is served with tomato sauce and sour cream.

Ingredients: half kilo minced meat, 2 tbs oil, 4 bell peppers, 1 clove garlic, 150 gr rice, 1 onion (chopped), salt, pepper, paprika powder, 1 tomato sauce (can), 1 or two tbs of sugar, sour cream to serve 

1. Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Rinse peppers under cold water and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté garlic, chopped onion and rice together over medium heat, add some water to rice. Finish cooking after five minutes. 

3. Combine minced meat with the pre-cooked rice, add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, paprika powder and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well ingredients and stuff paprikas with the meat and laid out in a large pot (tops facing up). Add enough water to completely cover the peppers. 

4. Boil the stew until the peppers become visibly soft on the outside and the water reduces down to half.

5. The thickening agent for the gravy is browned roux or flour and water. Reduce heat and add tomato paste (or even pasta sauce can be added) mix well into the gravy. Flavor it with 1 or two tablespoons of sugar.

6. Serve dish with sour cream and fresh bread (in certain region it can be served with mashed potatoes).

The dish is called punjena paprika in Serbo-Croatian, Polneti Piperki in Macedonian, Plnená Paprika in Slovak, and Töltött paprikain Hungarian, meaning “stuffed peppers”. The dish is popular in Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. There are also many variations of the dish across the Balkans.


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